The Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse invited the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and later the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) for talks on power sharing; but his peppered invitation was spurned by the TNA asking it to deal with the LTTE directly. Rajapakse had said that he is willing to talk to the LTTE and if the violence continues, his army will "tame" the Tigers.
Although said in a joking manner, his invitation will only be seen as a mock of the Tigers' defeat in the East. If the TNA, which is seen as a spokesperson for the LTTE, gets involved in direct conversation, it would further dilute the LTTE's position on the negotiating table. Therefore, predictably, the TNA has punted the ball back to Rajapakse to continue his dialogue directly with the LTTE. While rebuffing Rajapakse's invitation, the TNA was also careful to reiterate that the LTTE was the "sole representative" of the Tamils.
The Sri Lankan Government (SLG) has been carefully trying to distinguish the LTTE from the Tamils. By calling the LTTE terrorists and propping up the Karuna group in the East, the SLG has isolated the LTTE diplomatically, militarily, and politically. Having cornered them in the North and cutting off supplies, the SLG has essentially laid siege to areas controlled by the Tigers. At the same time, it has propped up Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) as a political alternative to the LTTE.
The donor community has been extremely critical of the SLG's over emphasis of military means and not focusing enough on dialogue. Rajapakse's strategy now is to make as many invitations as possible to the Tamils but laced with insults and rebukes to ensure that they may be spurned. Having achieved that, he will portray the LTTE as those who refuse to make peace or incapable of being peaceful.