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Sri Lanka signs tsunami aid deal with Tamil Tiger rebels

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, June 24, IRNA
Sri Lanka-Tsunami-Aid
Sri Lanka's government has signed a controversial tsunami aid sharing deal with Tamil Tiger rebels despite stiff opposition from the Marxists who stalled a Parliamentary debate on the issue, local press reported on Friday.

The Press Trust of India quoted government minister Maithripala Sirisena as saying that the deal was signed by the government's rehabilitation ministry secretary M S Jayasinghe.

The report added that Norwegian peace-brokers have taken the document to the northern-held city of Killinochchi for the Tiger's signature after which the deal will officially take effect.

Under the deal, the Colombo government and the Tigers would jointly handle billions of dollars of foreign aid for survivors of the December 26 tsunami, which killed at least 31,000 people and displaced a million in the country.

The report added that the government has informed the Parliament of the proposed post-tsunami Operational Management Structure (P-TOMS) for the first time after months of secret talks with the help of peace-broker Norway.

However, MPs of the Marxist JVP, or People's Liberation Front, blocked government ministers from speaking on the bill.

The government responded to the uproar by postponing Parliamentary proceedings until July 5.

Ahead of the Parliamentary debate police fired tear gas to prevent hundreds of JVP protestors from marching to Parliament.

The P-TOMS, or the joint mechanism, will be in three tiers with a three-member panel at the top. There will be one each from the rebels, the government and minority Muslim community.

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