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Sri Lankan President Calls for Revised Truce with Tamil Rebels



25 November 2005

Sri Lanka's recently-elected President Mahinda Rajapakse, making good on his campaign position, is calling for a revised cease-fire deal with the Tamil Tiger rebels. Anjana Pasricha reports from New Delhi that the original 2002 deal brought a halt to a two-decade-long ethnic war on the island nation.

In his first policy statement to parliament, President Mahinda Rajapakse said he would amend the three-year-old cease-fire pact with Tamil rebels to ensure that it prevents terrorist acts and respects human rights.

He called for reviving stalled peace talks with the guerrillas, but rejected the Tamil rebels' demand for an autonomous homeland based on ethnicity.

The head of Colombo's Center for Policy Alternatives, Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, says the comments are not unexpected.

"These are the policies and positions on which he stood during the campaign, and he is not going to ditch them immediately," he said.

The rebels have warned that tampering with the Norwegian-brokered cease-fire could cause its collapse. But Mr. Rajapakse is allied with hard-line Marxist and Buddhist groups that oppose giving too much to the rebels.



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