Sri Lanka

Tamil party boycotts Sri Lanka parliament

COLOMBO, Mar 21, 2006 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Sri Lanka's main Tamil minority political party stayed out of Tuesday's parliamentary session to highlight alleged inaction by the government to implement agreements reached in Geneva with the Tamil Tigers, the party sources said.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebel proxy political party has 22 MPs in the 225- member assembly.

The Tigers and the government met in Geneva on Feb. 22-23 to discuss ways to implement the ongoing fragile cease-fire.

The TNA MPs said that the government had failed to disarm paramilitary groups operating in the Northern and Eastern provinces in violation of the accord reached in Geneva.

The government denies any links to paramilitary groups whom the LTTE accuses of perpetrating violence against them.

Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake presenting the motion to extend the state of emergency in parliament said that Geneva talks had contributed positively to reduce the violence in the north and east.

He said although the situation has improved, the government wants to continue with the emergency as a precaution. The state of emergency gives wide powers to police and security forces in combating terrorist and violent activities.

The parliament meets every month to extend the state of emergency imposed last August following the assassination of then foreign minister Lakshman Kadirgamar.

The TNA opposes the motion on the ground that powers are used by the forces to commit security excesses in the Northern and Eastern provinces.