Sri Lanka declares it will go ahead with peace talks, bewails violence

The Sri Lankan government said Friday it will go ahead with peace talks with Tamil Tiger rebels, deploring new violence that killed a senior rebel fighter. "The government is determined to go ahead and hold the talks, as agreed," Director of the Government Information Department, Anusha Palpita, told The Associated Press.

Earlier, Seevaratnam Puleedevan, a top rebel peace negotiator, said slain guerrilla Maj. Kapilan was "a very senior and bold officer," and he questioned the government's commitment to this week's agreement to restart peace talks stalled since 2003.

The government said it has received reports from rebel-held areas of "heavy fighting," but denied any involvement. The region is home to a breakaway rebel group that split from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in March 2004. The Tigers accuse the military of aiding the breakaway faction, reports the AP.


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