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Sri Lanka Archbishop castigates "bickering politicians" after airport bombing

After a fierce attack by Tamil separatist rebels on Tuesday night, Archbishop Nicholas Marcus Fernando has said it may not be too late to recall parliament to solve the problems "before the country disappears in chaos".

The incident at Colombo's international airport left 20 dead, including Tamil rebels and government soldiers.

He said: "This could be the final hour and the last chance to save Sri Lanka."

On 11 July 11, Sri Lanka's President Kumaratunga, having lost her parliamentary majority when the Muslim Alliance withdrew from her coalition, suspended parliament and proposed a referendum for next month.

The Archbishop criticised what he called a "useless" referendum: "Many right thinking people had proposed to the bickering political parties to come together and form a national government in the interest of the nation."

Meanwhile Malcolm Rabjith, Secretary of the Bishops' Conference, said: "This government has ignored the many requests made by the Catholic Bishops' Conference to set up the Independent Elections Judiciary and Police Commissions, Nothing has been done to provide a feasible solution to North-East [Tamil separatist] question and the on-going conflict."

Sri Lanka's People Are Not Divided, Just the Politicians, says Archbishop (Christianity Today)