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 Post subject: Sri Lanka president in London for talks with Tony Blair
 Post Posted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 12:04 am 
Sri Lanka president in London for talks with Tony Blair

Sri Lankan President is on a sudden visit to London for talks with Prime Minister Tony Blair. Rajapakse and Blair were expected to discuss Sri Lanka's collapsing ceasefire with Tamil Tiger rebels, officials here said on Tuesday. There was no formal statement from the government about Rajapakse's surprise departure at a time when government forces are battling Tamil Tiger rebels in the island's northeast.

@ Yahoo.com
30 Aug2006


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COLOMBO (AFP) - Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse has left here on a sudden visit to London for talks with Prime Minister Tony Blair, official sources said.

Rajapakse and Blair were expected to discuss Sri Lanka's collapsing ceasefire with Tamil Tiger rebels, officials here said on Tuesday.

The trip comes amid international efforts to salvage the truce, officials added.

"The president left for London this morning," a senior government source said.

There was no formal statement from the government about Rajapakse's surprise departure at a time when government forces are battling Tamil Tiger rebels in the island's northeast.

Some 1,500 people have died since December, when Sri Lanka's three-decade-old ethnic conflict escalated again as a truce struck in February 2002 started unravelling.

The visit to London -- where Tamil Tiger chief negotiator Anton Balasingham is based -- is Rajapakse's first to Britain since he came to power in November.

Britain, Sri Lanka's former colonial power, banned the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in February 2001.

But Balasingham, now a British national, remains in London and holds meetings with foreign dignitaries involved in the island's peace process.

Rajapakse has said he was ready for unconditional talks with the Tigers and described the current military action against the rebels as a "defensive operation" to prevent attacks against security forces and civilians.


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