BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Urdu Hindi Pashto Bengali Tamil Nepali Sinhala
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC News UK Edition
 You are in: World: South Asia  
News Front Page
World
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent
-------------
Letter From America
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Education
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
CBBC News
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Friday, 9 August, 2002, 17:07 GMT 18:07 UK
Sri Lankan talks 'next month'
Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Tyronne Fernando
Mr. Fernando is optimistic about early peace-talks
Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Tyronne Fernando has said that peace talks with Tamil Tiger rebels could take place next month.

Speaking at a news conference during a visit to Delhi, Mr Fernando said: "A date will be fixed, which will most probably be in September or thereafter."


Certainly fresh elections would delay the peace process. We hope this will not come to that

Tyronne Fernando,
Sri Lankan Foreign Minister
But he added that the much-awaited dialogue could be delayed if general elections were called in Sri Lanka because of continuing differences between the prime minister and the president.

The Sri Lankan foreign minister is on a day-long visit to India for talks with his Indian counterpart.

The two sides in the Sri Lankan conflict signed a ceasefire agreement last February, but have so far failed to start peace talks.

Political tussle

The Sri Lankan foreign minister said the "only hurdle" to peace talks was the full implementation of a ceasefire accord signed with the Tamil Tiger rebels.

Sri Lankan President Chanrika Kumaratunga
Ms Kumaratunga's power battle determines future plans
Mr Fernando said his government was working fast in evacuating Sri Lankan soldiers from schools and temples as demanded by the Tiger rebels.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe and President Chandrika Kumaratunga are locked in a political tussle.

The government wants Ms Kumaratunga - who is elected separately - to reduce some of the powers she is granted by the constitution.

"We have conveyed to the President that she should agree to take away her power to dissolve parliament," said government spokesman G L Peiris.

"If she does not, then we will consider the option of calling a snap election," he added.

An election would be the third in as many years.

Looking back

The last poll in December say Ms Kumaratunga's Peoples' Alliance defeated in favour of Mr Wickremesinghe, the leader of the United National Party, who ran on a pro-peace, pro-business platform.

More than 64,000 people have been killed in bloody ethnic war and some 800,000 displaced within the island.


Peace efforts

Background

BBC SINHALA SERVICE

BBC TAMIL SERVICE

TALKING POINT
See also:

28 Jul 02 | South Asia
07 Aug 02 | Crossing Continents
02 Aug 02 | South Asia
16 Jul 02 | South Asia
08 Jul 02 | South Asia
03 Aug 02 | South Asia
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more South Asia stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more South Asia stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | World | UK | England | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales |
Politics | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology |
Health | Education | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes