Sri Lanka killing fields to haunt negotiators at Swiss talks

Sri Lankan Police forming a human chain in parliament to protect the Speaker and enable a vote.

GENEVA, Oct 27, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s warring parties are to meet in Geneva Saturday amid international pressure to stop a new spiral of killings in Asia’s bloodiest civil strife.

Tamil Tiger reels who took up arms in 1972 want a separate state for the island’s ethnic Tamil minority.

Political talks on power-sharing remain on hold since April 2003 while the February 2006 Swiss talks focused only on saving the truce. Despite pledges to halt the violence, the killings escalated.

The political wing leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, S. P. Thamilselvan said he wanted the international community to study the “report cards” to decide who is to blame for the deteriorating humanitarian situation.

Sri Lanka’s key international backers — the European Union, Japan, Norway and the United States — had pressured the parties to end the impasse in the peace process and meet here.

The run-up to the talks saw some of the bloodiest fighting. Over 250 people were killed in two weeks of suicide bombings and face-to-face fighting.

“The staging of the talks is a mini victory for the international community,” said Sri Lankan defence analyst Namal Perera of the Ravaya