Tamil Tiger rebels
date to hand over crucial power-sharing plan
Associated Press, Wed October 22, 2003
03:58 EDT . SHIMALI SENANAYAKE - Associated Press Writer -
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) After several delays, Tamil Tiger rebels have set a
date next week for handing over a long-awaited power-sharing plan hoped to
kickstart fresh peace talks with the Sri Lankan government.Norway has played a
pivotal role in trying to broker peace between the two sides in Sri Lanka - 's
two-decade civil war that has killed nearly 65,000 people, including a
cease-fire that has held since February 2002.
The proposal is expected to spell out tough demands from the
rebels for wide political and financial powers in the island's northeast. The
rebels pulled out of peace talks in April, accusing the government of not doing
enough to rebuild war-ravaged territories and resettle hundreds of thousands of
Tamils displaced during the conflict.
The rebels have said they are now ready to resume negotiations.
Their proposal could be a milestone toward achieving a political settlement, as
it's the first time they have set down such a proposal on paper.
S.P. Thamilselvan, the rebel political chief, will meet with
mainstream Tamil political parties this week to brief them on the proposal,
The proposal was originally expected in September, and on Monday
a senior rebel leader said after consultations with ethnic Tamil and foreign
legal experts in Europe on the proposal, it would be handed over before Oct. 26.
But Master said Wednesday the Tigers will definitely hand over the document on
Master said the rebels will hold a media conference a day after
the proposal is handed over.
The government has offered to meet the rebels to discuss the
date and place of the next round of peace talks, although negotiations are not
expected to resume until next year.
Thamilselvan is expected to meet members of the Tamil National
Alliance later Wednesday, in the northern rebel-held town of Kilinochchi, Master
said. The party holds 15 seats in Sri Lanka - 's 225-member Parliament and last
year declared their open support for the rebels.
The rebel leader will also meet Periyasamy Chandrasekaran,
leader of the Upcountry People's Front on Thursday, and Arumugam Thondaman,
leader of the Ceylon Workers Congress, on Saturday, Master said. Both are
members of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's Cabinet.
Published by The Lanka
Academic - Wed Oct 22 06:28:57 EDT 2003