Sri Lankan president cancels talks with allies over tsunami aid deal

Sri Lanka’s president Monday cancelled crucial talks with legislators of her Marxist-backed coalition amid mounting opposition to plans for an aid sharing-deal with Tiger rebels, officials said. Sri Lanka’s president Monday cancelled crucial talks with legislators of her Marxist-backed coalition amid mounting opposition to plans for an aid sharing-deal with Tiger rebels, officials said. President Chandrika Kumaratunga was to hold talks with lawmakers, including the Marxist JVP, or People’s Liberation Front, who have vowed to quit the government if a plan to share tsunami aid is reached with Tamil rebels.

“The meeting scheduled for today will not take place and a fresh date has not been decided,” a spokesman for her office said without going into details.

The JVP had threatened to quit the federal government and seven local government bodies that are controlled by the Kumaratunga-led Freedom Alliance coalition if the government agrees to an aid deal, according to press reports.

Kumaratunga’s government has only a five-seat majority in the 225-member parliament and depends on the 39 JVP votes.

A group of Buddhist monks Monday said they would begin a fast Wednesday to protest