At war with the government for two decades, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) called for an interim self-government authority, among several other measures to end the island-country's conflict that had claimed more than 60,000 lives.

The proposals, handed over to Colombo through Norwegian peace brokers and publicly announced on Saturday, envisages the interim authority raising taxes, maintaining law and order, controlling trade and negotiating foreign funds.

Releasing the eight-page document in the rebel-held town of Kilinochchi, LTTE's political wing leader SP Thamilselvan said the rebels were ending their six-month long boycott of peace talks.

Rebel overtures

"We look forward to continuing our dialogue with the government and to reaching rapid agreement on the creation of an interim authority so as to effectively bring normalcy and economic development to the Tamil people in the northeast," Thamilselvan said.

"We look forward to continuing our dialogue with the government and to reaching rapid agreement on the creation of an interim authority"

SP Thamilselvan
LTTE political wing leader

The LTTE had been boycotting peace talks since April, accusing the government of failing to deliver on promises made at earlier rounds of negotiations.

European Union member states immediately welcomed the latest LTTE initiative.

"This represents an important step forward in the peace process," a statement by the European Union heads of mission said.

The LTTE has proposed the interim authority functions until a permanent peace deal is reached with the government or for a maximum period of five years.

The Tigers proposed elections under an independent elections commission after a permanent peace deal is signed.

The LTTE proposals came in response to a power-sharing plan offered by the government in July.