Walter Jayawaradhana reporting from Los Angeles

(May 11) “ Sri Lanka's ruling United People's Freedom Alliance recognized the Liberation tigers of Tamil Eelam as the sole representative of the Tamil minority in peace talks”, the British Broadcasting Corpration has said quoting President Chandrika Bandaranayake Kumaratunge.

The alliance, led by President Chandrika Kumaratunga, made the announcement yesterday in the capital, Colombo, saying the peace process has to involve only the government and the Liberation Tigers, the BBC said, citing the party secretariat. The Tamil Tigers have insisted they will join talks only when they are recognized as the Tamils' sole representatives.

Kumaratunga's alliance is preparing for talks with the rebels after it won elections last month. It’s statement ignores the alliance partners such as the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, or JVP. According to reliable sources, President has advised the JVP not to poke their fingers in to her peace process and mind their own business. Mrs Kumaratunge has also remarked that even if the JVP pulls out of the UPFA, she would be able to continue to govern the country with the support from UNF and TNA who will back her to continue the peace process. However it is highly unlikely that the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna would rock the boat risking the ministry privileges they are enjoying in UPFA.

Norway's Foreign Minister Jan Petersen is visiting Sri Lanka today as part of a new effort to bring both sides to the negotiating table. Petersen meets Kumaratunga today and Velupillai Prabhakaran, the leader of the Tamil Tigers, tomorrow. The government and the rebels have been observing a cease-fire since February 2002. The Tamil Tigers have been fighting for independence since 1983.