Norway envoy in crucial talks with Tigers to save truce

KILINOCHCHI, Jan 25, 2006 (AFP) – Norway’s top peace envoy Wednesday began talks with Tamil rebels in northern Sri Lanka aimed at saving a troubled ceasefire amid rising violence, including bomb attacks in the capital. KILINOCHCHI, Jan 25, 2006 (AFP) – Norway’s top peace envoy Wednesday began talks with Tamil rebels in northern Sri Lanka aimed at saving a troubled ceasefire amid rising violence, including bomb attacks in the capital. Solheim arrived at the rebels’ political capital in a government military helicopter which landed on an overgrown football field ringed by Tamil Tiger policemen armed with automatic weapons.

He carried a message for the elusive Tiger supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran from President Mahinda Rajapakse agreeing to compromise on a venue for direct talks in a bid to end a deadlock of almost three years, officials said.

Rebel sources said they expect a breakthrough after Wednesday’s closed-door talks and Solheim could announce a possible round of ice-breaking talks in Europe, most probably in Geneva, by the middle of February.

Solheim was received by the head of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) peace secretariat, S. Puleedevan, who said the discussions would be crucial fo