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Sri Lankan President Asks Country to Unite

Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga says the unprecedented tragedy gripping the country offers an opportunity to find a permanent solution to the ethnic conflict plaguing the island nation.

In a New Year's message, Mrs. Kumaratunga asked her country to unite - without regard to ethnicity, religion or class - to face the staggering destruction from Sunday's tsunami.

The president's attempts to revive peace talks with Tamil separatists have been deadlocked for 20 months and her remarks were being seen in Colombo as an overture for peace.

Relief supplies have begun arriving in Sri Lanka, but reports indicate that aid convoys continue to have difficulty reaching some of the hardest hit areas.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.