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Donors postpone visit to Lanka's rebel-held areas

Donor groups postponed a meet with LTTE in Lanka for fear that it could have a detrimental effect on upcoming peace talks.

india Updated: Feb 03, 2006 14:09 IST

Top international donors on Friday postponed a meeting with Tamil rebel leaders in northern Sri Lanka for fear it could have a detrimental effect on upcoming peace talks between the government and guerrillas.

The Asian Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank said they consulted with both sides and agreed to reschedule the meeting -- to take place in the rebels' de-facto capital, Kilinochchi.

"Much hope rests on a successful outcome at the Geneva talks and the agencies did not want to undertake anything that might have a negative impact on the buildup to this event," the agencies said in a joint statement.

"The heads of agencies reiterate their commitment to playing their appropriate role in supporting the peace process."

One of the separatist rebels' demands is that they should be given direct access to foreign development funds.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam began fighting in 1983 for an independent homeland for the Sri Lanka's Tamil minority.

Norway brokered a cease-fire in 2002, but subsequent peace talks broke down the following year.

The near-two decade war left more than 65,000 people dead.

Government and rebel representatives are expected to hammer out their differences and try to permanently end the lingering civil conflict when they meet in Geneva this month. An exact date for the talks has yet to be announced.

First Published: Feb 03, 2006 14:09 IST