Sri Lanka moves to save war-torn truce as donors meet

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

Sept 12, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka on Tuesday agreed to a key concession to try to save the collapsing ceasefire as foreign aid donors were set to rap the island’s warring parties over escalating bloodshed. Diplomats said the SLMM would possibly include nationals from Switzerland and New Zealand. Sri Lanka defence spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said the government was willing to amend the Norwegian-arranged truce and include other countries to replace European Union nationals on the monitoring mission who had been rejected by Tamil Tiger guerrillas.

Colombo had earlier insisted that there should be no interfering with the truce, which specifies that only citizens from Nordic nations will monitor the ceasefire.

The Tigers expelled monitors from Denmark, Finland and Sweden — all members of the EU — after the EU banned the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and declared the LTTE a terrorist organisation in May.

Colombo agreed to allow other nations to enter the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) just ahead of a meeting of the United States, Japan, the EU and Norway in Brussels to discuss Sri Lanka’s worsening violence.

The quartet known as the “co-chairs” were to review the faltering peace bid