“A huge blow to the peace process” – that is how Sri Lankans and foreign governments have described the killing of the country’s foreign minister. As international condemnation of Lakshman Kadirgamar’s murder grows, so do fears that a shaky ceasefire with Tamil Tiger rebels, the LTTE, could collapse.That could mean a return to the civil war that has killed more than 60,000 people in two decades. The rebels have denied responsibility, saying government officials should look for the culprits within their own ranks. But there is widespread speculation that the Tigers had indeed carried out an old vendetta against Kadirgamar. He himself was an ethnic Tamil but had campaigned against the LTTE internationally. “The killing of Lakshman Kadirgamar is obviously going to strengthen the position of hardliners who argue that the LTTE has not changed at all and that there was really no point in negotiating with an organisation like the LTTE,” said political analyst Rohan Edirsinha. The assassination came amid heightened tensions between the government and therebels who have threatened to end the three-year truce because of a spate of violence in the east of the island. The insurgents want an independent Tamil state in northeast Sri Lanka.