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Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict: At a crossroad between peace and war

Ganguly, R. (2004) Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict: At a crossroad between peace and war. Third World Quarterly, 25 (5). pp. 903-918.

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In the 1990s the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka had acquired the reputation of an orphaned and dirty war. Hence, there was widespread support when in the new millennium Norway tried to facilitate a dialogue between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the main Tamil insurgent group, and the Sri Lankan government. The peace process led to a ceasefire agreement and six rounds of face‐to‐face meetings. Although progress was understandably slow, a political framework that allowed Tamil national self‐determination while simultaneously protecting Sri Lankan sovereignty and territorial integrity seemed near. However, by late 2003–early 2004, such optimism lay shattered and a return to the days of warfare seemed a real possibility. In this paper, I offer an explanation for the onset of peace talks, assess its achievements and explore whether the peace process is still salvageable or a return to warfare is more likely to mark the future.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
Copyright: Third World Quarterly
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