Chandrika accuses JVP of thwarting aid deal

Agence France Presse

Colombo, June 12:

Sri Lanka’s president today accused her main coalition partner of trying to thwart a proposed tsunami relief aid deal with the LTTE by falsely claiming it will lead to a separate homeland for Tamil Tiger rebels. President Chandrika Kumaratunga dismissed claims by the Marxist

JVP, or People’s Liberation Front, about the deal to share billions of dollars in international donor aid with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. “This (joint mechanism) does not threaten Sri Lanka’s national security or territorial integrity as perceived by some,” the president said in a live telephone interview with the state-run radio. The JVP last week vowed to quit the coalition on June 16 if the president goes ahead with the tsunami aid deal. The party, which has 39 seats in the 225-member Sri Lankan parliament, holds the balance of power for the government which has a slim majority of five seats. Kumaratunga has pledged to set up a joint mechanism to distribute international aid in areas controlled by the LTTE and among other survivors of the December 26 tsunamis. The JVP argues that the proposed aid deal with the Tigers could be a stepping stone for a separate state the guerrillas have sought for decades.