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Tigers reject Sri Lanka talks plan

Sri Lanka has been racked by civil war for more than two decades.
Sri Lanka has been racked by civil war for more than two decades.

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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels have rejected the government's latest offer to resume talks, saying it is too vague and demanding instead a "radical overhaul of the entire peace process."

The rebel leadership gave no specific details of what changes they wanted to see to the 16-month-old process, but said they would be in contact with Norwegian peace mediators to discuss the issue further.

On Thursday Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe offered to set up an interim Tamil administration in the Tamil-majority northeast of the country, and invited the rebels back to talks.

The offer does not seem to have satisfied the Tigers who have accused the government of not doing enough to help the Tamil minority and prevent discrimination by the majority Sinhalese.

In February last year the government and rebel forces agreed to a Norwegian-brokered cease-fire ending a 19-year civil war that left more than 65,000 people dead.

The two sides held six rounds of talks until the rebels pulled out of negotiations in April.

The rebels have said they will not return to talks until the Sri Lankan government lays out a clearly defined framework for an interim administrative structure in the north-east.

Observers say that is an almost impossible demand as in order to grant the rebels an interim administration the government would have to change the constitution.

That, in turn, would require a two thirds majority vote in the national parliament -- a majority the government does not enjoy.


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