Sri Lanka ask Norway to suspend contacts with Tamil Tigers

COLOMBO, Dec 3, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s government asked peace broker Norway to suspend contacts with the Tamil Tiger rebels as it came under intense pressure Sunday to ban the guerrillas and end an Oslo-backed peace initiative. Norwegian peace envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer was told that his planned visit to the rebel-held town of Kilinochchi Tuesday would not meet with Colombo’s approval, said Palitha Kohona, the top Sri Lankan official dealing with Norway.

“The cabinet of ministers will review the government’s relations with the Tigers on Wednesday,” Kohona told AFP. “Until then, we don’t want the Norwegians to have any contacts with them.”

There was no immediate reaction from the Norwegians.

The government’s move came amid growing pressure from nationalists and key allies to declare the Tamil Tiger rebels a terrorist group and end Norwegian-backed peace efforts, officials said Sunday.

“The government discussed the issue on Saturday and there was no finality on the matter,” a top government source said.

“There is a strong feeling that we can’t ask others to ban the Tigers when we ourselves have not done it.”

Groups opposed to the rebels held rallies on Sunday and put up posters across the capital over