The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Tigers talk tough on truce

Colombo, Dec. 26 (Reuters): Tamil Tiger rebels today accused the Sri Lankan military of undermining the island’s peace process in their toughest verbal attack since a truce to stop two decades of war was signed in February.

The Tigers said demands by the Sri Lanka Army that the rebels disarm as a condition for the relaxation of the military’s high-security zones in the north and east “has a diabolical motive of disrupting the current peace effort”.

After the two sides met on a subcommittee on de-escalation and normalisation earlier this month, the army was to propose to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ways to open up the high-security zones in the northern Jaffna peninsula.

“Disarming of the LTTE cadre and de-commissioning of their weapons are non-negotiable issues at this stage,” a rebel statement said in response to the army’s proposals.

High-security zones are areas in the north and east, usually residential, in which government forces have forced people from their homes or severely restricted public movement.

The sharp response from the Tigers came after the two sides made huge strides in their direct talks and highlights difficulties ahead as issues on the ground are discussed.

The Tigers have backed away from their demand for a separate state and have agreed with the government to discuss setting up a federal system that would give them regional autonomy.

Unless the army changed its stance, the rebels said they saw no purpose in further meetings of the subcommittee.

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