Sri Lanka seeks foreign help to bring Tigers back to peace talks

WASHINGTON, March 16, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama on Friday sought international help to prod Tamil Tiger rebels waging a battle for a separate homeland to return to the negotiating table.

“The international community should once again seek to prevail upon the LTTE to return to the negotiations and to negotiate in good faith,” he said during a visit to Washington, where he held talks with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other senior government officials.

Direct peace negotiations between Colombo and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) stalled in October last year and fighting has intensified despite the two sides agreeing to a Norwegian-brokered truce in 2002.
More than 4,000 people have also been killed since December 2005.

Bogollagama urged the international community to make clear to LTTE rebels that they should respond “in a time bound fashion with specific targets” if they wanted to return to talks.

They should “not seek to use such an opportunity to merely buy time or to score tactical advantages,” he said.

“Above all they must join the democratic political mainstream. After all there are several militant groups that have successfully made