Sri Lanka peace hopes dim as Tigers suspend Swiss talks

Apr. 16 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s Tiger rebels Sunday suspended their participation at Swiss talks on saving their troubled truce, dimming prospects for peace as the death toll from landmine attacks in the past week rose to 55. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said in a letter to peace broker Norway that they would not attend next week’s talks in Switzerland until Colombo removed restrictions on the movements of their cadres.

“We… wish to inform you with sadness that until the hurdles in front of us to attend Geneva talks are removed and a more conducive environment created, our Geneva team is unable to come to the Geneva talks,” the Tigers said.

The guerrillas stopped short of pulling out of the talks, scheduled for two days from April 24.

The talks were originally due to start on April 19 and last three days, but were scaled down to two days.

In a letter to the Norwegian ambassador here, Hans Brattskar, the rebels urged Oslo to pressure Colombo to implement the ceasefire which came under pressure following an upsurge in violence which the government here blames on the Tigers.

The Sri Lankan government on Saturday accused the Tigers of resorting to flimsy excuses to stay away from the Swiss talks