Tsunami deal with Tigers would set stage for Sri Lanka peace deal: president

Sri Lanka’s president called Thursday for a deal with Tamil Tiger rebels on distributing aid to tsunami survivors, saying it would set the stage for a final agreement to end a decades-old separatist war. Sri Lanka’s president called Thursday for a deal with Tamil Tiger rebels on distributing aid to tsunami survivors, saying it would set the stage for a final agreement to end a decades-old separatist war. Chandrika Kumaratunga in a message marking the traditional New Year said the move initiated by peacebroker Norway will be the basis for moves to end three decades of ethnic bloodshed that has claimed more than 60,000 lives.

“The proposed joint mechanism to provide aid to the people of the north and east would be a foundation to find a final solution to the protracted national conflict,” Kumaratunga said.

Norway is sending special envoy Erik Solheim here Monday to try to jumpstart the faltering peace process and push the idea of a “joint mechanism” to deliver aid to minority Tamils in rebel-held areas.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and government forces have observed a truce since February 23, 2002 but face-to-face peace talks which opened in September 2002 were stalled in Ap