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Sri Lanka Denies Rebel Claims It Uses Tsunami Aid to Buy Weapons


Sri Lanka's government is denying claims by Tamil Tiger rebels that it is using tsunami relief money to buy weapons and obstructing aid deliveries to areas under rebel control.

Defense Ministry spokesman Brigadier Daya Ratnayke said Sunday, the government uses only its annual budget for defense spending.

The Sri Lankan official also insisted the government is taking extensive measures to ensure that rebel-held areas are provided with a fair share of assistance.

A report on the pro-rebel Tamilnet web site said rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran raised the issues during a meeting Saturday with Norway's Foreign Minister Jan Petersen in the rebel stronghold, Kilinochchi.

Mr. Petersen is in Sri Lanka to try to revive peace efforts between the rebels and government, and to assess the needs of tsunami-hit areas.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.

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