New ceasefire head prepares for Sri Lanka’s mission impossible

Aug 27, 2006 (AFP) – The new head of Sri Lanka’s truce monitors takes over a team cut by nearly half this week amid warnings by his predecessor of “mission impossible” to satisfy both sides in the vicious separatist conflict. Former Norwegian army chief Lars Solvberg will run a 30-strong group after members from the European Union were ordered to quit by the end of the month by Tamil Tiger rebels.
The 25-nation bloc branded the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) a terrorist group in May, prompting the rebels to retaliate by demanding the ouster of EU members Sweden, Finland and Denmark from the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission.

“It’s a mission impossible to keep the parties satisfied,” said retired Swedish general Ulf Henricsson who formally steps down this week.

Henricsson said the monitors had come under fire from both sides during his attempts to rule on violations.

“It’s very easy just to realise that with 50 percent of the people (now), you are doing 50 percent of the job. That’s a concern,” he added.

“It’s much easier to hide the shit that both parties are doing,” Henricsson said, highlighting extra-judicial killings and attacks using fragmentation mines blamed on both sides.

Solvberg, who arrived