Donors press Sri Lankan parties to resume negotiations

OSLO, Apr. 28 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s international donors meeting in Oslo on Friday pressed both rebels and the Sri Lankan government to return to negotiations to shore up the country’s faltering ceasefire. “We call upon both sides to put a stop to the violence. On this basis we call upon the two parties to come to the negotiating table as soon as possible,” Norwegian Minister for International Development and chief mediator Erik Solheim said at a press conference held after the meeting.

Solheim said the ceasefire, signed in February 2002, was still viable.

“It is true that there has been a number of violations to the ceasefire, all of them regrettable (…) but still it is far short of full-scale war,” Solheim said.

At least 100 people have been killed in the last two weeks in attacks blamed on the separatist Tamil Tigers (LTTE) and in retaliatory strikes carried out by the Sri Lankan army.

On Tuesday, a Tamil woman posing as an expectant mother gained entry to the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo’s Army Hospital and blew herself up, severely wounding the army chief and killing 10 others.

The government retaliated by launching air strikes on suspected Tamil Tiger rebel positions, causing 15