The leader of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers has issued an ultimatum to the government, warning his group will intensify the struggle for self-determination in 2006 if Colombo does not offer what he called a reasonable political settlement. Velupillai Prabhakaran gave the warning in his annual policy speech on Sunday, which concluded ceremonies honoring nearly 18-thousand guerillas who died while battling government forces. Mr. Prabhakaran urged newly-elected President Mahinda Rajapakse to propose a framework that satisfies the aspirations of minority Tamils, adding Tamil people have lost patience, hope and reached the brink of utter frustration.
His appeal came two days after President Rajapakse demanded revisions of the government's cease-fire with the rebels. The president said he was ready to open talks with the rebels, but rejected their demand for recognition of an autonomous homeland for Sri Lanka's minority Tamils.