Sri Lanka says peace closer despite Tigers’ spurning of new offer

President Chandrika Kumaratunga Saturday voiced confidence that peace was closer than ever in Sri Lanka even though Tamil Tiger rebels rejected her latest offer to revive stalled negotiations. President Chandrika Kumaratunga Saturday voiced confidence that peace was closer than ever in Sri Lanka even though Tamil Tiger rebels rejected her latest offer to revive stalled negotiations. In a Christmas message to this majority Buddhist nation she said much of the ground work to end three decades of ethnic bloodshed had already been done.

“Much of the groundwork directed towards the fulfilment of our hopes has been done,” Kumaratunga said. “I am confident the tranquillity which appeared elusive is closer than ever before.”

Her statement came as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) told peace broker Norway that the Sri Lankan government’s latest offer to end a 20-month impasse in talks was not acceptable to them.

“The LTTE leadership, having carefully scrutinised the current version of the agenda as presented by the Sri Lanka government, is displeased with its structure and contents,” the LTTE said.

The Tigers said the president’s coalition partner, the Marxist JVP, or P