April 1, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka plans to hold a referendum on whether to maintain a fragile five-year-old ceasefire between government troops and separatist Tamil Tiger rebels, a state-run newspaper said Sunday. The truce allows either party to opt out by giving two weeks’ notice to Norway.
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The government of President Mahinda Rajapakse hopes to “soon” hold the vote on the controversial February 2002 truce arranged and put in place by Norway, the Sunday Observer said.
“The president is interested in looking at the proposed abolition of the ceasefire agreement in a democratic manner, enabling the voters to decide on the fate of the ceasefire agreement (CFA),” the Observer said.
Rajapakse’s office was not immediately available for comment on the report.
“If the people oppose the CFA and vote in favour of abolishing it, then the government would go ahead (and) withdraw from it,” the newspaper quoted a source in the president’s office as saying.
Rajapakse came to power in November 2005 on a pledge to end Norway’s role as peace broker in Sri Lanka and scrap the truce agreed by a previous government which he accused of appeasing the Tigers.
The truce began unravelling two months after Raja