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Sri Lanka Prepares Funeral for Assassinated Foreign Minister


Sri Lanka is preparing to hold a state funeral Monday for its slain foreign minister. Lakshman Kadirgamar was shot by a sniper Friday. The assassination has thrown into doubt the future of an already fragile peace plan between the government and the separatist Tamil Tiger guerrillas.

Officials say up to 10,000 people may attend the funeral and cremation of Lakshmar Kadirgamar to take place later Monday with full honors.

The 73-year-old foreign minister was killed by snipers late Friday in an assassination the government blames on separatists from the Tamil Tiger guerilla group - charges the rebels deny.

Colombo political analyst Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu says the assassins likely wanted to disrupt a shaky three-year-old peace plan between the government and the rebels, who waged a violent 20-year campaign for greater rights for Sri Lanka's ethnic Tamil minority.

"It's difficult to believe that the perpetrators of this crime did not in any way think of what the political consequences are going to be," said Mr. Saravanamuttu.

President Chandrika Kumaratunga placed Sri Lanka under a state of emergency after the killing. But she says the government remains committed to the peace plan.

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