Sri Lanka called on to offer greater devolution to Tamils

Jan 08, 2008 (LBO) – The European Union (EU) has stepped up pressure on Sri Lanka after the government withdrew from the truce with the Tamil Tigers, with its external relations chief calling for a peace deal that goes beyond previous “failed” offers. The EU’s Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner said in a statement that she was “deeply disappointed” by the government’s decision to abrogate the 2002 ceasefire agreement.

The EU is one of four ‘co-chairs’ which underwrote the island’s peace process with a large volume of aid along with Japan, the US and Norway in 2002.

Local news reports over the weekend said the four co-chairs were expected to review the situation in the island after the government scrapped the truce which they backed and helped arrange a 4.5 billion aid package for reconstruction.

The aid package never got off the ground because of continuing problems with the truce and the inability of the government and the Tigers to strike a peace deal.

Ferrero-Waldner said in her statement she hopes that the Sri Lankan government will come forward with a “substantive devolution” offer around which negotiations can start as soon as possible.

“As the Co-Chairs stated