Norway’s peace envoy to meet warring parties in Sri Lanka

Nov 30, 2006 (AFP) – A top Norwegian peace broker arrived in Sri Lanka Thursday, a diplomat said, as Tamil Tiger separatists insisted government forces have killed off an Oslo-brokered ceasefire. Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict has claimed at least 60,000 lives since it began in 1972.

Envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer was to hold separate talks with Sri Lankan officials and rebel leaders after the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) announced a new bid to run their own independent state, the Norwegian diplomat said.

“He will be travelling to (the rebel-held) Kilinochchi next week for talks with the Tiger leadership,” the diplomat added.

The envoy was due to meet Sri Lankan officials later Thursday.

LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran said Monday that repeated attacks by security forces meant the 2002 truce was dead.

“Our position articulated by our leader is that the ceasefire is defunct because of the actions of the government,” LTTE’s military spokesman, Rasaiah Ilanthiriyan, told AFP.

He denied reports that the Tigers had told Nordic truce monitors they would still abide by the truce which, according to the monitors themselves, existed solely on paper.

“We are n