Norway meet seeks to end Sri Lanka bloodshed

June 24, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s peace broker Norway said here Sunday it will hold a meeting of the island’s key financial backers this week in a bid to stop the latest wave of bloodshed. Andreas Michaelis will represent the European Union Presidency and James Moran will represent the European Commission.

The formal meeting on Tuesday will follow a preparatory gathering of officials on Monday and will explore ways of bringing the government and Tamil Tiger rebels back to peace negotiations, a Norwegian statement said.

Oslo-brokered peace talks collapsed in October last year and since then diplomatic efforts have failed to end violence in the bitter ethnic conflict which has claimed more than 60,000 lives in the past 35 years.

More than 5,000 people have been killed in the new wave of fighting since December 2005 despite a truce in place since February 2002.

“The purpose of the meeting is to share information and views,” Norway’s International Development Minister Erik Solheim said in the statement.

Four “co-chairs” — Japan, the US, the European Union and Norway — will analyse the deteriorating situation after their previous meeting in November, he said.

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