Hundreds of delegates from Sri Lanka 's four main religious groups prayed for the success of peace talks between the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels and the government opening in Geneva later Wednesday. Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Christian leaders and teachers gathered at an international conference center in Colombo and prayed for the talks' success.
The rebels have been fighting for three decades for a separate state for ethnic Tamils, most of whom are Hindu. They claim discrimination from the majority Sinhalese, who are mostly Buddhist. The Inter Religious Peace Conference, which organized the event, appealed to President Mahinda Rajapakse to seek a settlement that would "usher in an honorable and sustainable peace to this country," according to statement released by the group.
Government leaders and Tamil rebels are opening their first direct talks in nearly three years at a secluded chateau outside Geneva , hoping to shore up a ragged cease-fire agreement and move peace talks back on track, suspended since 2003, reports the AP.
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