Sri Lanka leader gambles on tsunami aid

Ethirajan Anbarasan at the BBC:

_40052218_srilanka203body_apSri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s bold decision to push through a deal to share international tsunami aid has restored hopes of a negotiated settlement to the island’s ethnic conflict.

In addition, analysts say, the president has scored a victory over her political rivals by being “firm and decisive” in bringing about the deal with the Tamil Tiger rebels.

Under the agreement, Sinhalas, Tamils and Muslims will share nearly $3bn in aid pledged after the December tsunami.

Representatives from all three communities will be responsible for reconstruction work at different administrative levels in the Tamil-dominated north and east.

The Tsunami Relief Council, as it is called, may not have considerable political or executive powers but in more than two decades of war this is the first time both sides have come together to work in an administrative structure for a common cause.

More here.