Sri Lanka president invites Tigers for talks

Sri Lanka’s new President Mahinda Rajapakse Monday invited the Tamil Tigers for peace talks a day after the separatist guerrillas issued a deadline for him to cut a peace deal quickly or risk a new war. Sri Lanka’s new President Mahinda Rajapakse Monday invited the Tamil Tigers for peace talks a day after the separatist guerrillas issued a deadline for him to cut a peace deal quickly or risk a new war. Rajapakse, in an address to Colombo-based diplomats, said he wanted talks with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) but did not respond directly to the deadline set by the rebels.

“Let me use this occasion to reiterate my invitation to (LTTE leader Velupillai) Prabhakaran for talks,” the president said, according to a text of the speech released by his office.

“We can resume work immediately on reviewing the operation of the ceasefire, whilst we prepare ourselves for eventual substantive talks.”

Rajapakse, who told parliament Friday that he wanted a “new peace process” and a “revision” of the current truce, said he expected the LTTE to respect the ceasefire, stop human rights abuses, political killings and child recruitment.

“I intend to make the peace process more open and m