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Sri Lanka Says Peace Talks with Rebels Will Begin October 28

Sri Lanka has announced that three-day peace talks with Tamil Tiger rebels in Geneva will begin October 28.

The rebels told Norwegian peace brokers they are ready to hold talks with the government if it ends its attacks on them.

In a statement on an official government Web site, Keheliya Rambukwella, a Sri Lankan minister, says the government is ready to hold unconditional talks, but will retain the right to retaliate if the rebels launch an attack.

Despite the agreement, violence continued Wednesday in the northern Jaffna peninsula. The Sri Lankan military says air force planes pounded Tamil Tiger rebel mortar positions there.

Separately, police say they located and defused a powerful bomb in the capital city of Colombo.

Norway brokered a ceasefire in 2002, but both sides have ignored the accord in recent months.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.