BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Friday, 25 November 2005, 08:22 GMT
S Lanka leader urges truce review
Mahinda Rajapakse
Mr Rajapakse said he was committed to talks with rebels
Sri Lanka's new President Mahinda Rajapakse has demanded a review of a ceasefire deal with Tamil Tiger rebels.

He said the country needed a new peace process that would not tolerate "terrorism" - but added that he was ready for talks.

Mr Rajapakse said a solution to the long-running conflict would be found in a unitary state, rejecting Tigers' demand for an independent homeland.

Negotiations are deadlocked and the 2002 truce is increasingly fragile.

Mr Rajapakse was sworn into office last week after campaigning on a platform of no compromise with the Tamil Tigers, the BBC's Dumeetha Luthra in Colombo reports.

Almost no Tamils voted in some minority areas in northern and eastern Sri Lanka in the 17 November poll.

Talks offer

"The ceasefire agreement will be amended so as to ensure that acts of terrorism would not be permitted," Mr Rajapakse said in his first policy statement to parliament.

"I will have an open and transparent peace process, which will respect human rights. It will not allow child recruitment," the president said.

He also dismissed a long-standing Tigers' demand for the recognition of their homeland in the northern part of the island.

"Sri Lanka will be the traditional homeland of all its people - Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Malays and Burgers," the president said.

He also invited the rebels for talks, but analysts say it is unlikely they will take him up on this.

There was no immediate reaction from the rebels to the president's remarks.

The 2002 truce brokered by Norway ended more than 20 years of civil war which has killed more than 60,000 people.

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


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific