Tigers warn of war over president alliance

Tamil Tiger rebels have warned that Sri Lanka could return to war after President Chandrika Kumaratunga's latest political pact with a leftist party opposing autonomy for minority Tamils.

    The JVP is opposed to granting autonomy to minority Tamils

    The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said Kumaratunga's deal on Tuesday with the People's Liberation Front (JVP) could lead to a collapse of a truce in place since February 2002. 

    "This anti-peace political pact articulating an incoherent,
    confused and mutually contradictory position on a serious national issue might create objective conditions for the resumption of ethnic war," LTTE ideologue Anton Balasingham was quoted on Wednesday as saying in the pro-rebel Tamilnet.com website. 

    The London-based Balasingham, who is also the LTTE's chief
    negotiator, said the deal between the two main opposition parties in Sri Lanka failed to address the ethnic conflict which had claimed over 60,000 lives since 1972. 

    The LTTE's reaction to the latest political realignment in
    Colombo came as the alliance vowed to maintain the
    Norwegian-brokered truce if they are returned to power. 

    'Dangerous consequences'

    Elections are not due till December 2007. 

    However, Kumaratunga, whose party is in the opposition in parliament, is widely expected to call snap elections, giving her new alliance a chance of toppling Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. 

    "It is the (majority) Sinhalese people who have to reflect on
    the dangerous consequences that might arise if forces inimical to peace and ethnic harmony are voted to political power"

    Anton Balasingham,  
    LTTE ideologue

    Kumaratunga's new leftist alliance said they would keep up peace talks with the LTTE, but the guerrillas said they would not talk to any group which failed to recognise them as the sole representatives of the minority Tamils. 

    "It is the (majority) Sinhalese people who have to reflect on
    the dangerous consequences that might arise if forces inimical to peace and ethnic harmony are voted to political power," Balasingham said. 

    Sri Lanka's peace broker Norway suspended its role in Colombo in November after Kumaratunga sacked three ministers in
    Wickremesinghe's cabinet and took away the ministries of defence, interior and information. 

    Kumaratunga's new alliance has also rejected the LTTE's peace plan unveiled on 31 October as a blueprint for a separate state, but say they will keep up a peace process. 

    The new alliance admits serious contradictions in their
    positions regarding a final settlement to Sri Lanka's long-running ethnic conflict, but say they will work towards a solution and accept the consensus of the majority. 

    The JVP is opposed to granting autonomy to minority Tamils while Kumaratunga's party advocates devolving political power to the minority Tamils in exchange for ethnic peace.

    SOURCE: AFP


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