July 26, 2006 (AFP) – Peace broker Norway will launch a fresh bid to save Sri Lanka’s troubled peace process ahead of a September 1 deadline set by Tiger rebels for European truce monitors to quit, officials said Wednesday. Special envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer will arrive on the island in the “early part of August” to talk with Colombo and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a Norwegian embassy spokesman said.
“It is not surprising that the SLMM (Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission) is definitely going to be the main issue (discussed),” spokesman Eric Nurnberg said, referring to Tiger demands that European monitors should leave.
The Swedish-led SLMM has said that the Tiger demand for European Union member states Denmark, Finland and Sweden to withdraw their staff would affect 37 out of the 57 Nordic monitors and would lead to a virtual collapse of monitoring of the February 2002 truce.
The Tigers last week reiterated to visiting Swedish envoy Anders Oljelund that ceasefire monitors from EU member states which in May outlawed the Tigers will have to quit because their neutrality was in doubt.
Diplomatic sources close to the peace process said Hanssen-Bauer would try to persuade the Tigers to drop their dema