Tamil Tigers isolated in bid for own state in Sri Lanka

Nov 29, 2006 (AFP) – A rebel bid for an independent Tamil state in Sri Lanka has run into outright international rejection with the United States leading calls for new peace talks and an end to bloodshed.

A second round of peace talks this year collapsed in Geneva last month over the government refusal to open a sole land access road to the Tamil heartland in the Jaffna peninsula, which has been closed since mid-August. Neither peace broker Norway nor regional power India offered any support to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who appealed for international recognition for a renewed separatist struggle.

LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, accusing Sri Lanka of waging war under cover of peace talks, said Monday the 2.5-million Tamil minority were left “with no other option but an independent state”.

He went back on a 2002 pledge to accept a federal solution to the ethnic conflict which led to a ceasefire and years of Norwegian-sponsored peace talks.

The US, which outlawed the rebels as terrorists in 1997, took a hard line against Prabhakaran’s vow to build Tamils their own state in the north and east of the island.

US ambassador Robert Blake said Washington “strongly disagre