Tue, Nov 21, 2006 - Page 4 News List

Jaffna road to reopen for supplies

AP , COLOMBO

The Sri Lankan government said yesterday it will reopen the only highway supplying the Tamil-majority Jaffna Peninsula, allowing the flow of essential supplies to half a million civilians trapped by fighting for the first time in four months.

President Mahinda Rajapakse's office said he instructed authorities to reopen the A-9 Highway for a one-time supply run. The road was closed in August after the Tamil Tiger rebels attacked a military checkpoint at Muhamalai.

The closure of the strategic road led to the breakdown of peace talks between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the government in Geneva last month.

"The president has directed government authorities to make arrangements for the transport of essential goods to Jaffna by road using the A-9 as a one-time measure," the president's office said in a statement.

"This is a first step to reach the items and buildup a buffer stock," chief government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters.

He said the government would review the security situation and then decide whether to open the highway again after the one-time supply run.

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