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Thursday, 13 September, 2001, 12:02 GMT 13:02 UK
Sri Lankan ministers 'resign over pact'
Four Sri Lankan ministers who opposed a recent parliamentary pact between the government of President Chandrika Kumaratunga and the country's main Marxist party have resigned.

The ministers said they would not seek positions in the new cabinet which is being cut from 44 to 20 under the agreement with the far-left People's Liberation Front, or JVP.

They said the JVP was an obstacle to peace and economic growth.

On Tuesday, Tamil Tiger rebels also criticised the pact saying it was a serious blow to the peace process.

Under the deal, which was signed last week to avoid a no-confidence vote the government looked certain to lose, the JVP has agreed to support the governing People's Alliance for a year.

The four resigning are Aviation Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, Industries Minister Gamini Peiris, Environment Minister Mahinda Wijesekera and Parliamentary Affairs Minister SB Dissanayake.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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