Sri Lanka rebels agree to peace talks

Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels have agreed to peace talks in late October, a source close to the negotiations has said.

    The rebels want a separate homeland

    The source revealed the rebels have told Norway's special peace envoy on Tuesday they are prepared to meet the government for talks in Oslo.

    After envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer met the Tigers' political wing leadership in the northern rebel stronghold of Kilinochchi, the source said, on condition of anonymity: "The Tigers have agreed to go to Oslo for talks on October 28-30."

    The Sri Lankan government has told Norway it would be prepared to hold talks either on October 30 or on November 10 due to parliamentary commitments.
    "This is positive news," said one senior government official, asking not to be named, saying Mahinda Rajapakse, the Sri Lankan president, would still need to give the final approval on the dates.
    "We need to work out some of the details," he said.
    The government and the rebels say they are ready to resume talks after a five-month impasse. But sporadic fighting continues - the air force bombed rebel territory in the north on Tuesday after the Tigers fired artillery at army positions - and Nordic truce monitors see little will from either side to stop the fighting.
    Some analysts fear any talks might be premature given the upsurge in fighting, the worst since a 2002 truce.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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