Air attacks dim Sri Lanka peace talk hopes

Oct 3, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lankan air raids against Tamil Tiger rebels Tuesday dimmed prospects of early peace talks between the two sides despite fresh attempts by Norway to avert a return to full-scale war, officials said. Israeli-built Kfir war planes pounded an area held by Tamil Tigers even as Oslo’s top envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer was in the area meeting with the guerrilla leadership, the rebels said.

“The facilitator has run into some snags and the air attacks did not help,” a diplomatic source close to the process said.

“Hanssen-Bauer has gone in for new talks with officials in Colombo to try and secure an agreement.”

The military said three artillery gun positions of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were attacked in the north of the island after a de facto front line came under heavy guerrilla artillery attack.

Tiger political wing leader S. P. Thamilselvan described the aerial bombing as “haughtiness” of the military and said it showed bad faith on the part of the government which has said it wanted peace talks on October 30 or November 10.

“A prime example of this haughtiness was demonstrated by the air force, whose Kfir bombers bombed Pooneryn, just 30 kilometres from Kilinochchi where