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Marxists Quit Sri Lankan Coalition Over Aid Deal with Tamil Rebels


The main Marxist ally of Sri Lanka's ruling coalition government has quit in protest over a plan to share the distribution of tsunami aid with the Tamil Tiger rebels.

The People's Liberation Front, popularly known as the JVP, has 39 seats in the 225-seat parliament in which President Chandrika Kumaratunga has only a five-seat majority.

President Kumaratunga wants to share the distribution of tsunami aid with the Tamil Tigers as an opportunity to forge peace with them. The donors also have insisted on a joint aid-distribution mechanism.

But the JVP and the country's influential Buddhist monks have opposed the move, saying such an agreement would help the rebels' cause for a separate state.

Reports from Colombo say the pullout may not bring the government down because the president has secured support of some of the opposition lawmakers in parliament.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AP, AFP.

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