Sri Lanka pledges not to start war

Sri Lanka Thursday pledged not to start a war with Tamil rebels despite an escalation of violence and expressed hope that peace broker Norway will salvage a truce with the guerrillas. Sri Lanka Thursday pledged not to start a war with Tamil rebels despite an escalation of violence and expressed hope that peace broker Norway will salvage a truce with the guerrillas. Government spokesman Nimal Siripala de Silva discounted fears of a return to full-scale war with the deaths of at least 115 people in the past month in attacks blamed mostly on the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

“The government will not start a war,” de Silva told reporters here. “We will not provoke the LTTE. Our approach to the peace process is that we want to give the impression that we are genuine. In fact, we are genuine.

“We will only act in self defence if we are attacked,” he said. “We will not do anything to provoke the LTTE.”

De Silva said the government expected Norway’s International Development Minister Erik Solheim, who is due here on January 23, to arrange new talks between the rebels and the new Colombo government.

The Tigers have insisted that any new talks be held in