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Last Updated: Friday, 19 November, 2004, 04:30 GMT
Sri Lanka president urges talks
By Dumeetha Luthra
BBC News, Colombo

Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga (left) and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse
Mrs Kumaratunga said she did not want a war
Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga has urged the Tamil Tiger rebels to restart negotiations.

The president told the BBC she was willing to discuss the Tamil Tigers' proposal for interim self-rule and also a long-term federal solution.

But she firmly stated that the ball was now with the Tamil Tigers and she had done as much as she could to come to the talks table.

The peace process stalled last year when the Tigers pulled out of talks.

Mrs Kumaratunga said she did not want war and also felt the Tigers did not want war unless they were pushed - something she said she had no intention of doing.

She said she had moved 75% of the way towards their position and accused the Tigers of not compromising at all.

Significantly, she stated that she was speaking for all members of her coalition. The leftist JVP had previously opposed any devolution of power to the rebels, but she rebutted claims that they were still an obstacle to talks.

A recent statement on a rebel website accused the president of deceit and cheating the international community.

Since the talks stalled last year a number of attempts by Norwegian mediators have failed to restart the process.

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