Sri Lanka agrees to key rebel demand for peace talks abroad

The Sri Lankan government on Friday formally invited the Tamil Tigers to resume peace talks, saying it was “amenable” to a key guerrilla demand to hold negotiations abroad. The Sri Lankan government on Friday formally invited the Tamil Tigers to resume peace talks, saying it was “amenable” to a key guerrilla demand to hold negotiations abroad. Government spokesman Nimal Siripala de Silva told reporters that Colombo no longer insists that any future negotiations be conducted within the island.

“Now the government is amenable,” de Silva said. “We have relaxed that condition (of insisting on talks in Sri Lanka) also. We are awaiting a positive response from the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam).”

He said Norway had agreed to remain in the role of peace maker even though President Mahinda Rajapakse won the November 17 election on a promise to overhaul the Norwegian-backed peace process.

De Silva said two key allies of the government — the Marxist JVP and the all Buddhist monks party of JHU — had initially opposed Norway’s role in the peace bid but now fully supported the idea of peace talks.

Direct talks between Colombo and the LTTE have been on