Oct 17, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lankan peace broker Norway launched a bid Tuesday to salvage planned talks after the rebels’ worst-ever suicide bombing that killed more than 100 people and prompted government retaliatory strikes. Special envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer arrived in Colombo to try to finalise arrangements with government leaders for talks scheduled later this month on ending the three-decade old ethnic conflict, diplomats said.
Hanssen-Bauer was expected to leave Thursday for the rebel-held town of Kilinochchi for separate talks with Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) political leader S. P. Thamilselvan.
His efforts came one day after the country’s deadliest-ever suicide bombing that left at least 103 people dead and 150 more wounded when rebels detonated an explosives-laden truck alongside buses packed with sailors.
The attack, about 170 kilometres (105 miles) northeast of Colombo, came even though both sides had agreed to meet in Switzerland on October 28 and 29 to work at ending the conflict which has claimed 60,000 lives since 1972.
The Sri Lankan defence ministry, also reeling from a major battlefield defeat last week in the northern peninsula of Jaffna, said its war planes hit targets on Tuesday in