Sri Lanka Marxists issue deadline to drop aid-sharing deal with Tigers

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe (2nd R) arrives to visit the site of a bomb attack at St. Anthony's Shrine in Kochchikade in Colombo on April 21, 2019. - A string of blasts ripped through high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services in Sri Lanka on April 21, killing at least 156 people, including 35 foreigners. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

Sri Lanka’s coalition plunged into deeper crisis Friday as a key partner gave the president five days to back off from an aid-sharing deal with rebels or risk losing the government. Sri Lanka’s coalition plunged into deeper crisis Friday as a key partner gave the president five days to back off from an aid-sharing deal with rebels or risk losing the government. Hundreds of Buddhist monks took to the streets in the capital Colombo hours after the Marxist JVP announced plans to quit the government on June 16 unless President Chandrika Kumaratunga rolls back her controversial plan.

The demonstrations by two separate groups of monks — one backing the JVP, or the People’s Liberation Front and the other from the all-monk National Heritage Party — added to a sit down protest by monks already under way in the capital against the aid deal.

Officials said Kumaratunga was due to hold talks with the Buddhist hierarchy Friday in a bid to stem the wave of protests.

The JVP told reporters here that it would block any attempt by the president to enter into a “joint mechanism” to distribute foreign aid to survivors of the December 26 tsunami disaster.

“We will leave the gove