Tamil rebels warn Sri Lankan government of ``dire consequences'' if attacks continue
Sat May 8, 2004 11:32 EDT .
- - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Tamil Tiger rebels claimed Saturday that the Sri Lankan military backed attacks that killed nine guerrillas in the past two weeks and warned of ``dire consequences'' for a fragile cease-fire if the assaults continue. ``It is apparent that the killers have all the assistance from the Sri Lanka - Army,'' the Tamil Tigers said in a letter to European cease-fire monitors, according to the pro-rebel TamilNet Web site.
The Sri Lankan military has denied the allegations.
The rebels also asked the monitors to warn the government that ``the entire peace process and the cease-fire agreement are being placed in heavy risk and dire consequences have to be faced.''
``Urgent steps must be taken to conduct an in-depth inquiry and bring to book the culprits,'' the rebel letter said.
The comments come amid hectic efforts by Norwegian peace-brokers to revive stalled peace talks between the government and the rebel group.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Jan Petersen will arrive in the island on Monday for discussions with President Chandrika Kumaratunga and the rebels' reclusive leader Velupillai Prabhakaran to explore ways to resume talks, stalled for more than one year.
Norway helped the two sides reach a cease-fire agreement, signed in February 2002, which has held despite the deadlock in peace talks.
There has been sporadic violence in eastern Sri Lanka - since the main Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam group clashed last month with a breakaway rebel faction, killing at least 33 people.
The rebels began their violent campaign in 1983 to create a separate state for minority Tamils. About 65,000 people were killed in the fighting before the cease-fire.
On the net: www.tamilnet.com
Published: Sat May 8 17:38:04 EDT 2004