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Sri Lanka's Tamil Rebels Reject Government Committee on Greater Autonomy

Sri Lanka's Tamil rebels have rejected the government's creation of a committee to devise ways to give more autonomy to Tamil regions. The proposals would be intended to help end a long-running separatist rebellion.

A Tamil web site, TamilNet, quotes the rebels' political chief S.P. Thamilselvan as saying the government is deceiving the international community by appearing to be serious about by other countries, and come up with a plan suitable for Sri Lanka, on Wednesday. The committee will present its recommendations to President Mahinda Rajapakse.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka's parliament has voted to extend a state of emergency by another month. The law was first introduced last August following the assassination of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar by suspected Tamil rebels.

Thamilselvan says the rebels have long rejected government offers of autonomy based on the country's existing constitution. He also said that if President Rajapakse is genuinely interested in peace, he should stop the alleged killing of civilians by government-backed forces.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.