The following is a chronology of key incidents in Sri Lanka's civil war, in which over 64,000 people have been killed since it erupted after an anti-Tamil riot in 1983.

 

1983-84

 

India trains and funds Tamil groups, including the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), fighting for a separate Tamil state in the island's north and east.

 

1987

 

July - India and Sri Lanka sign pact creating regional councils to give Tamils in the northeast limited autonomy.

 

Indian troops arrive to enforce the pact that was endorsed by the LTTE and other Tamil rebel groups. Indian presence eventually grows to more than 100,000.

 

October - The LTTE reneges on the accord and begins three years of battles that kill more than 1,000 Indian troops.

 

1988

 

December - Ranasinghe Premadasa is elected president after promising to send Indian troops home and begin talks with LTTE.

 

1990

 

June - Talks fail as LTTE overruns police stations in east.

 

1991

 

May - Suspected Tiger suicide bomber kills former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

 

1993

 

May - Premadasa is killed by a LTTE suicide bomber.

 

1994

 

November - Chandrika Kumaratunga elected president.

 

1995

 

Jan - Government of President Kumaratunga and rebels agree to stop fighting and talk.

 

April - Truce ends when rebels blow up two navy vessels.

 

1996

 

January - Tiger suicide bombers blow up central bank building, killing more than 100 and wounding about 1,400.

 

1997

 

Oct - United States declares LTTE a terrorist group. LTTE bombs World Trade Centre in Colombo, killing 15.

 

1998

 

January - Sri Lanka outlaws the LTTE after suicide attack on country's holiest Buddhist shrine, the Temple of the Tooth.

 

1999

 

Dec - Kumaratunga survives LTTE suicide bomb attack, loses one eye, spurring a sympathy vote analysts say helped her win reelection two days later.

 

2000

 

May - Erik Solheim, Norway's special envoy for peace, begins talks with Sri Lankan leaders.

 

2002

 

February - Government and LTTE sign Norwegian-brokered ceasefire, laying groundwork for direct peace talks.

 

September - First round of direct peace talks held in Thailand.

 

December - Tigers give up demand for a separate state and agree to work with government toward devolution of power.

 

2003

 

April - Tigers pull out after six rounds of talks, saying not enough done to rebuild war-hit Tamil areas.

 

2004

 

Feb - Kumaratunga dissolves parliament and calls snap election.

 

April - Kumaratunga's coalition wins election.

 

2005

 

August - Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar assassinated by suspected rebel snipers.

 

Sri Lanka's Supreme Court rules Kumaratunga's term must end in 2005, a year earlier than she hoped, paving the way for a November 17 election.