03/25/2009, 00.00
SRI LANKA
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President Rajapaksa renews talks with Tamil leaders

by Melani Manel Perera
A meeting with Tamil National Alliance lawmakers is scheduled for tomorrow. President is “interested in knowing the views of all political parties”. National Integration minister says Tamil Tigers lost more than 90 per cent of their forces.
Colombo (AsiaNews) – “President Mahinda Rajapaksa intends to discuss a political solution to the ethnic conflict in the North with the TNA MPs,” a press release by the Presidential Media Unit said.

Talks between the president and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), a pro-Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) party, will take place tomorrow at Temple Trees, the prime minister’s official residence.

The invitation comes at a time when the Sri Lankan military is saying that the fight against the LTTE is in its final phase.

According to former Tamil rebel commander, now National Integration Minister Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, the LTTE has lost more than 90 per cent of its forces.

All Tamil and Muslim parties represented in Sri Lanka’s parliament are also included in Rajapaksa’s invitation and are expected to give their answer to day. In case they accept, peace talks should resume shortly. A ceasefire had been announced in January 2008.

The President is “interested in knowing the views of all political parties for the purpose of arriving at a consensus on any set of proposals", the press release said.

Rajapaksa appealed to all Sri Lankans to take part in rebuilding the northern part of the island nation.

“Every single sleeper on this rail track should show the love for a united country. All those who love the country should join to build this track,” he said in his address on the occasion of the launch of the Colombo–Jaffna railway track extension project.

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