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Sri Lankan FM Goes to Europe to Salvage Peace Process

Sri Lanka's foreign minister has gone to Europe to discuss the ongoing peace process with Tamil rebels, as new violence threatens to derail a fragile four-year-old ceasefire.

Foreign Ministry officials say Mangala Samaraweera will visit Britain, France and Belgium for talks on the peace process and also a range of bilateral issues. He also is scheduled to address the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament in Belgium.

The European Union supports Sri Lanka's efforts to end the conflict with Tamil separatists, which went on for 19 years until Norway brokered a ceasefire agreement in 2002.

Last month, the ceasefire appeared on the verge of collapse until the government and the rebels agreed at a meeting in Geneva to halt attacks.

But violence resumed last week, leaving three people dead. The rebels and government officials plan to meet again next month.

Meanwhile, reports from Jaffna say government troops seized grenade launchers, live magazines of T-56 rifles and hand grenades during a sweep operation Tuesday and Wednesday in predominantly Tamil areas. The reports say the ammunition was found in bags abandoned at two roadside locations.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.