Annan urges Sri Lanka’s warring sides to resume dialogue

UNITED NATIONS, May 12, 2006 (AFP) – UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on Friday made a fresh appeal to Sri Lanka’s government and Tamil rebels to end violence and resume Norwegian-brokered peace talks. UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Annan, who is on a visit to Austria, was “disturbed by the news of major sea and aerial attacks in Sri Lanka, including an attack on a vessel that had unarmed international monitors on board.”

Dujarric said the UN chief took note of a statement by Scandinavian monitors demanding that the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) “immediately cease all operations at sea.

Annan added that “it is unacceptable to attack vessels that are carrying SLMM (Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission) monitors.”

“The secretary general appeals to both the Government and the LTTE to change course and bring the country back on a path to peace,” Dujarric said in a statement. “He repeats his call on all the parties to summon the political will to resume their dialogue under the facilitation of the Norwegian Government.”

Earlier Friday, the LTTE rejected a ceasefire ruling against them and demanded “sovereign rights” as Sri Lanka’s military hunted for the bodies of 18 people kille