Lankan troops, Tigers to hold regular talks

Agence France Presse

Colombo, April 16:

Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger rebels and government troops have agreed to hold regular talks after the guerrillas crushed an internal revolt that threatened a truce, ceasefire monitors said today. The Norwegian-led Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission said the two sides agreed at talks yesterday to hold regular meetings to discuss the implementation of the ceasefire between the rebels and military in place since February 2002. "They agreed to meet regularly," the mission said in a statement. "Both parties agreed to continue to uphold and respect the ceasefire agreement."

The truce was in doubt in the eastern regions after a breakaway Tamil Tiger leader, V Muralitharan, declared last month that he wanted a separate ceasefire agreement with Colombo. Muralitharan, who is better known as Karuna, was defeated on Monday by the main Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam which re-established control over the eastern districts.

Tiger leaders who replaced Karuna in the eastern region took part in the talks, which were arranged by the Scandinavian truce monitors and attended by their chief, retired Norwegian army general Trond Furuhovde. More than 60,000 people have died in ethnic violence in Sri Lanka since 1972 when the Tigers were founded with the aim of setting up a separate homeland for the island’s Tamil minority.