Sri Lanka warring parties put on notice at Swiss talks

GENEVA, Oct 28, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s warring parties resumed peace talks in Geneva on Saturday and received a stern warning that their country will lose foreign aid unless killings stop in Asia’s bloodiest internal conflict. .Updated Peace broker Norway said the international community had virtually placed the Sri Lankans on notice to show progress in efforts to resolve the long-running separatist conflict, which has claimed over 60,000 lives since 1972.

“We have shown a lot of patience and we are prepared to show more, but the people in Sri Lanka and the international community will be impatient,” Norway’s International Development Minister Erik Solheim said.

Kicking off the negotiations, Solheim said the island risked losing huge foreign aid and goodwill unless the government and Tamil Tiger rebels worked towards a final deal based on a federal formula agreed in December 2002.

Sri Lanka’s government marked a major shift in its policy by agreeing to a power-sharing arrangement “consistent with regional geo-political realities,” Colombo’s chief negotiator Nimal Siripala de Silva said in his statement to the talks.

Officials said the government was deviating from its earlier policy of sticking to the unita