Sri Lanka’s peace bid suffers fresh blow from killing spree

A weekend killing spree has compounded problems for Sri Lanka’s already troubled peace process and dimmed prospects of a deal on tsunami aid, diplomats and officials said Sunday. A weekend killing spree has compounded problems for Sri Lanka’s already troubled peace process and dimmed prospects of a deal on tsunami aid, diplomats and officials said Sunday. Gunmen shot dead seven people in two separate incidents in the Eastern province Saturday, marking an upsurge in apparent clashes between rival Tamil Tiger rebel factions, military officials said.

The bloodletting came as Norway’s ambassador here, Hans Brattskar, met with the Tiger political leadership in the island’s north to discuss a way for the Tigers and Colombo to cooperate in distributing tsunami relief.

Diplomats close to the peace process said they had expected a breakthrough in setting up a “joint mechanism” to handle millions of dollars in foreign relief aid, but that appeared to have suffered a blow with the latest killings.

There was no immediate word from the Norwegians, who brought Colombo and the Tigers to the talks table after clinching a truce in February 2002, but sources said Oslo was also conc