Friday, 16 March, 2001, 17:16 GMT
EU promises more aid to Colombo
The European Commission president Romano Prodi has promised
substantial aid to rebuild areas of Sri Lanka damaged by years of
conflict, if there is progress in peace talks between the government
and Tamil Tiger rebels.
Mr Prodi made the pledge in talks with the visiting Sri Lankan
president, Chandrika Kumaratunga.
A BBC correspondent in Brussels quotes EU officials as saying
that Mrs Kumaratunga assured the EU that she was optimistic about the
possibility of a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
In another development, the Red Cross in Sri Lanka says Tamil
Tiger rebels have released four Sinhalese farmers who had been held
captive since December 1999. The Tamil Tigers are waging a violent
campaign for a separate homeland for Sri Lanka's Tamil minority in the
northern parts of the country, and are believed to be holding more
than twenty civilian and military prisoners.
From the newsroom of the BBC World Service