ABU DHABI, Oct 25, 2006 (AFP) – Tamil Tiger rebels heading for peace talks in Geneva are banking on international pressure on the Sri Lankan government to stop the island returning to “real war”, a top guerrilla leader said Wednesday. “If the international community fails to put pressure on the government to implement the (February 2002) ceasefire and lower the hostilities, then the country will be pushed to real, real war,” chief peace negotiator S.P. Thamilselvan told AFP in an interview here.
Thamilselvan said the separatists hoped the foreign backers of Sri Lanka’s Norwegian-led peace process would put pressure on Colombo to halt the spiral of violence.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) say a previous round of negotiations eight months ago brought no results and, despite a joint pledge to de-escalate violence, was followed by more bloodshed in a country where more than 60,000 people have been killed since 1972.
Thamilselvan spoke to AFP during a stopover at Abu Dhabi airport en route to Switzerland for the October 28-29 talks to try to rescue the collapsing ceasefire.
The senior negotiator said the Tigers were prepared to discuss contentious political issues with the Sri Lankan government, but the dramatic