Upsurge in violence expected after Sri Lanka talks fail

Chief Regulatory Officer at CSE Renuke Wijayawardhane presenting the listing certificate to Executive Chairperson at Renuka Hotels Shibani Thambiayah

COLOMBO, Nov 5 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s military and Tamil Tiger rebels are again accusing each other of gearing up for war after peace talks collapsed in Switzerland, with analysts saying an upsurge in violence is inevitable. The government and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) failed a week ago to buy time for another round of negotiations despite intense foreign pressure to keep their Norwegian-brokered initiative alive.

Retired air force chief Harry Gunatillake says the country was dangerously heading towards a conflagration following the failure of the Swiss talks.

“There is going to be an escalation and a large number of lives will be lost,” Gunatillake said. “I hope my words won’t be prophetic. I pray that I will be proved wrong.”

Diplomats involved in the faltering process said they feared renewed air attacks by the military could trigger more bloodshed and add to the 3,000 bodies piled up after the previous round of talks in Switzerland in February.

As negotiators from both sides returned home, Sri Lankan war planes kept up three days of bombings, with one strike damaging the main hospital inside rebel-held territory.

In a clear bid to pull the parties from plunging into more c