Timeline on Sri Lanka’s troubled peace bid

GENEVA, Oct 30, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s latest round of peace talks ended in failure in Geneva over the weekend sparking fears of renewed bloodshed in Asia’s longest-running separatist conflict. The Sri Lankan government and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) disagreed on key issues that dogged the Norwegian-brokered talks even before they could start in Geneva.

Four previous peace bids since 1985 have ended in failure and led to more bloodshed in the country, where more than 60,000 people have been killed since 1972.

Here are the key dates in the latest peace bid: 1999
December 30: President Chandrika Kumaratunga announces that she is inviting Norway to act as a “facilitator” to bring the Tamil Tigers to the negotiating table. Norwegian diplomats had been working behind the scenes since 1997 to broker peace.

2000
February 16: Norway formally begins work after a round of talks in London with top LTTE ideologue, Anton Balasingham.
May: Government forces go on a massive arms buying spree for heavy weaponry that virtually bankrupts the country. The island registers negative economic growth a year later in 2001.

November 1: