The Tamil Tiger rebel group in Sri Lanka has confirmed it has turned to South Africa's African National Congress (ANC) for advice in transforming from a military to a political group.
By Frances Harrison
BBC correspondent in Colombo
The Tigers asked for help during an ANC member's visit last month
The Tigers consider themselves a liberation movement and have always supported the ANC.
Some reports say the Tigers considered moving their international HQ to South Africa when banned by anti-terrorism legislation in Britain.
Now the Tigers want help negotiating their way through the murky world of politics.
Lot to learn
A South African newspaper says the Tigers formally asked for help during a visit to Sri Lanka last month by one of the ANC's national executive committee members, a former party MP.
Quoting the head of the Tigers' peace secretariat, S Puleedevan, the South African Sunday Times says the Tigers are seeking support, expertise and advice on how to end the fighting in Sri Lanka.
It says the Tigers feel there is a lot to learn from the ANC.
The Tigers are also said to be keen on sending a delegation to South Africa to study its system of government, having already looked at federal models in Europe.
Last year, the rebels agreed to the establishment of a federal system of government instead of a separate Tamil state for which they had fought for two decades.