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Sri Lanka's President Declares State Of Emergency - 2003-11-05


Sri Lanka's president has declared a state of emergency after effectively suspending the government - which has been pursuing peace with Tamil rebels. As Anjana Pasricha reports, the president says the truce will not be affected.

President Chandrika Kumaratunga Wednesday declared a state of emergency in Sri Lanka. But her aide, Lakshman Kadirgamar, says the 21-month truce with Tamil Tiger rebels is not in jeopardy.

"The president has no intention, whatsoever, of resuming or provoking the resumption of hostilities," he said.

Tuesday President Chandrika Kumaratunga fired top ministers, suspended parliament, and deployed troops in the capital - while Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is in the United States.

The president - who accused the government of making too many concessions to the rebels - said she is safeguarding the country's interests.

The prime minister says Mrs. Kumaratunga is sabotaging the Norwegian-brokered peace process to end a two-decade conflict with the rebels.

The Tamil Tigers - who have given up on independence in exchange for autonomy - say they are monitoring the situation.

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