Norway’s FM meets Tamil Tiger chief
Colombo, May 11:
Norway’s foreign minister met with the top Tamil Tiger leader today in efforts to revive peace talks between the Sri Lankan government and the guerrillas that stalled a year ago. The meeting between Jan Petersen and Tiger chief Velupillai Prabhakaran in northern rebel-held Kilinochchi came amid concerns that a recent spate of killings may jeopardize Sri Lanka’s fragile ceasefire and hinder attempts to end two decades of civil war. A rebel official reached in Kilinochchi confirmed that the meeting had started, but said he was not authorised to make any comment. Earlier, the rebels’ media office advised Colombo-based journalists not to travel to Kilinochchi, saying tight security for Prabhakaran may hinder their movement.
European truce monitors warned yesterday that the recent killings of at least nine Tamil Tiger rebels and one army soldier in the country’s east posed a serious threat to the truce and peace negotiations.
The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission said it was sending Maj Gen Trod Furuhovde, who heads the 56-member mission, to the east today to meet with local rebel leaders and the Sri Lankan military, said Hagrup Haukland, deputy chief of the monitoring group. “Killings may endanger ceasefire,” the independent Island newspaper said in a front-page headline. Petersen met with Sri Lanka’s President Chandrika Kumaratunga yesterday to discuss the situation in Sri Lanka.