Sri Lanka keen for early truce talks with Tamil rebels: Norway

Sri Lanka’s government is keen to have early talks to salvage a truce with Tamil Tiger rebels after both sides agreed to a review of the ceasefire, peacebroker Norway said Saturday. Sri Lanka’s government is keen to have early talks to salvage a truce with Tamil Tiger rebels after both sides agreed to a review of the ceasefire, peacebroker Norway said Saturday. Norway stepped up efforts to arrange the first high-level talks in 30 months between Colombo and the Tigers as the ceasefire came under renewed pressure following the assassination on August 12 of the foreign minister.

“The government is keen to have the talks as soon as possible,” said Norwegian embassy spokesman Tom Knappskog. “We are in consultations with the parties to finalise a date and a venue.”

The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said Friday the truce talks would be held in Oslo “in a couple of weeks.”

Scandinavian truce monitors had warned that the murder of foreign minister Lakshman Kadirgamar was a major setback for the truce that took effect February 23, 2002 and could jeopardise the entire peace process.

The government has blamed the LTTE for the killing but it has denied responsi