Guided by her animus against the PM, and the need to shore her Sri Lanka Freedom Party's prospects in the local government election, Kumaratunga made some disconcerting noises against the peace process, pricking the hopes of those eager to see an end to the nearly two-decade-long strife. As foreign powers worked the diplomatic channels and the intelligentsia at home rallied behind Wickremesinghe, the President quickly watered down her opposition, claiming she only had reservations about some of the clauses of the ceasefire.
But first, the ceasefire accord that came into effect on the midnight of February 23. Under the pact, the armed forces and the rebels would be separated by a 500-metre no man's land and both sides vowed to cease all "offensive operations". Unarmed rebel cadres can undertake political activity in government-controlled areas, and the navy can intercept any LTTE ships ferrying arms. Either side has to give a two-week notice before retracting their agreement.