Agence France Presse

Colombo, June 26:

A key Muslim party today threatened to resign from the Sri Lankan government over a controversial tsunami aid-sharing deal with Tamil Tiger rebels. The National Unity Alliance, a member of President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s ruling coalition, said it will quit in two days unless she drops a deal clinched with the Tigers on Friday to distribute billions of dollars in tsunami aid from international donors.

“We have decided to give the government 48 hours’ notice and thereafter we will leave,” deputy leader MLM Hizbullah said, adding that as a first step he quit the politically-appointed post of chief of airports.

Following the withdrawal of support by Marxist allies earlier this month, Kumaratunga lost a majority in parliament. However, the main opposition United National Party has said it will support the government to ensure implementation of the aid-sharing pact with Tamil rebels. There was no immediate reaction today from the government to the resignation threat.

Hizbullah said the concerns of Muslims, the country’s second largest minority after the Tamils, had been ignored and they lacked sufficient representation in the aid deal.

Six months after giant waves destroyed much of the island’s coastal infrastructure, the authorities have yet to name members to run the joint mechanism inked Friday.

Other parties may also withdraw support for the pact because of concerns about the details of the agreement.