Sri Lanka

No decisive message on joint deal: Sri Lanka Tamil rebels

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COLOMBO, Jun 22, 2005 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Sri Lankan Tamil Tiger rebels said Wednesday that the Norwegian peace facilitators had not been able to carry a decisive message from the government on the proposed joint deal for tsunami relief distribution.

Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister Vidar Helgesen flew to Sri Lanka's rebel-held north town of Kilinochchi Wednesday for talks on the crisis situation that has emerged on the proposed government-Tamil Tiger joint deal on tsunami relief.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) website quoted its political wing leader S. P. Thamilselvan as saying that the " Norwegian facilitators did not bring any decisive message from the Sri Lankan government."

Reports coming from Kilinochchi said Helgesen had told the LTTE that the Sri Lankan government would sign the joint mechanism soon and implement it soon but no time line had been given.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga's office in a release said that Helgesen was requested by the president to convey to the LTTE rebels the concerns expressed by the Muslim minority on the proposed joint mechanism.

The country's Muslim parties are deeply concerned over what they termed as an effort made by the parties concerned to keep the Muslims away from playing any key role in the joint mechanism.

It is still unclear whether Muslim concerns were addressed or not during Helgesen's meeting with the LTTE leaders.

Political analysts note that any failure to accommodate Muslim concerns could result in Kumaratunga government's Muslim allies quitting the government.

Last week her main partner in the ruling coalition the JVP or the People's Liberation Front left the government protesting against her move on the joint mechanism and made the government a minority in parliament.