Lanka's new PM wants Indian role in peace talks

Updated on Apr 06, 2004 11:55 AM IST

PM-elect Mahinda Rajapakse said India should play an immediate role in his country's peace process.

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PTI | ByAssociated Press, Colombo

Sri Lanka's incoming prime minister said on Tuesday that India should play an immediate role in his country's peace process in the wake of tightly contested elections.

Mahinda Rajapakse made the plea to New Delhi when he talked with reporters just before he was scheduled to be sworn in to office.

"We want India involved as soon as possible," he said. Rajapakse, 58, leads an alliance that supports hardline President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who had denounced the previous Government's handling of negotiations with the Tamil Tigers.

Despite this, he is regarded as a moderate.

Tamil Tiger separatists and the Government began a civil war in 1983.

In 1987, India intervened in the bloody conflict but soon found itself in a military quagmire and withdrew in late 1989.

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