Sri Lanka to extend emergency as Norway holds talks on peace process

Sri Lanka’s president called for a month’s extension of a state of emergency to give police and troops greater powers to hunt down the assassins of the country’s foreign minister. Sri Lanka’s president called for a month’s extension of a state of emergency to give police and troops greater powers to hunt down the assassins of the country’s foreign minister. President Chandrika Kumaratunga on Tuesday summoned an emergency session of parliament for Thursday to extend the emergency powers, invoked Saturday for an initial 10 days, which allow searches without a warrant and detention without charges.

Kumaratunga has blamed Tamil Tiger rebels for Friday’s sniper attack on Lakshman Kadirgamar, which sparked fears that a Norwegian-brokered ceasefire in place since February 2002 could break down.

A soldier was killed by a suspected Tamil rebel sniper in the northeast on Tuesday, the military said, adding that a separate search was under way in the area for the attacker.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Jan Petersen and his deputy Vidar Helgesen met the president and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse to discuss the peace process after attending Kadirgamar’s state funeral Monday.