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Sri Lanka Tigers unveil power plan

By CNN Correspondent Kasra Naji

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 (CNN) -- Indicating their willingness to resume stalled peace talks, Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka have unveiled proposals for a power-sharing arrangement with the government.

The proposals were part of a document handed over Friday to the ambassador of Norway, who acting as a broker in the peace process.

Although nothing has been officially released, Tamil Tiger sources said the plan details an interim administration for the Tamil-dominated areas of northern and eastern of Sri Lanka.

The document also demands that the rebels control law enforcement, revenue collections and land allotments in the province.

According one Tiger source, the rebels do not plan to decommission their arms until new form of federal government is established, following a six-year interim administration.

The Tamil Tiger rebels have been fighting government forces for the past 20 years, demanding a homeland for the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka, who they say are discriminated against by the majority Singhalese.

More than 65,000 people, many of them civilians, have been killed during the civil war. A ceasefire has been in place since December 2001.

The proposals mean the rebels are now willing to resume the peace talks that stalled in April over the issue of power sharing, leading to fears of a resumption of hostilities.

Six rounds of peace talks were held before the rebels broke them off, saying the government had failed to implement many of the decisions made during the talks.

Meeting rebel demands will be a difficult task for the government of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

While his government enjoys a slender two-seat majority in parliament, any changes to the constitution would take a two-thirds majority.

The opposition led by President Chandrika Kumaratunga has been bucking against the developing peace process, saying the government has already given too many concessions to the rebels.

Government and rebel sources said they expect peace talks to resume in early January, but note some preliminary meetings may be held in the next few weeks on the issue of representation for the Muslim community at the peace talks.

The Muslim community in eastern Sri Lanka wants its rights guaranteed at the talks.


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