Pressure on Sri Lanka truce intensifies as monitors quit

July 29, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s threadbare truce came under further pressure Saturday following decisions by Finland and Denmark to remove their monitors as Tamil rebels and government troops braced for a showdown. Finland was the first to announce the withdrawal of their nationals from the Swedish-led Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) in line with a demand by Tiger rebels that they quit before September 1.

Sri Lankan spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said they were yet to be formally informed of the decision by Denmark and Finland to quit, but Colombo would resist any moves to reconstitute the SLMM without first being consulted.

“We are against any unilateral move,” Rambukwella said. “There is a ceasefire agreement and according to that any decision to change the SLMM must be done through consultations with all.”

The two Nordic nations announced the pull out as Sri Lankan war planes struck a Tamil Tiger base Friday, the third straight day of bombing.

Rambukwella, who is Policy Planning Minister and government spokesman on defence-related matters, said the airforce carried out another round of aerial attacks Friday in northeastern Trincomalee district.

He said the bombing campaign was aimed at op