Sri Lanka peace talks on ‘backburner’

Sri Lanka’s foreign minister ruled out an early resumption of peace talks to end a three-decade conflict with Tamil Tiger rebels but said a deal on disbursing tsunami relief was possible. Sri Lanka’s foreign minister ruled out an early resumption of peace talks to end a three-decade conflict with Tamil Tiger rebels but said a deal on disbursing tsunami relief was possible. “A formal resumption of the peace process is very much on the backburner,” Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar told a meeting of the Foreign Correspondents’ Association of Sri Lanka here late Thursday.

Kadirgamar however said the government could sign a deal brokered by Norway with the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to provide a formula for distributing tsunami relief as long as it was not seen giving the rebels de facto recognition as a government.

The remarks came as President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s administration faced pressure from its Marxist coalition partner, the JVP or People’s Liberation Front, which is opposed to any involvement of rebels in relief operations that could give them political recognition.

The Marxists initially warned they would pull out of the government if the r