Sri Lanka says doubts rebels want talks to save ceasefire

Apr.15 (AFP) – Sri Lanka Saturday expressed “serious doubts” about whether Tamil Tiger rebels want to go ahead with talks due to be held in Swizterland that are aimed at saving a fragile ceasefire. The two days of talks were scheduled to be held in Geneva from April 24 after being postponed for five days at the rebels’ request.

“There is a serious doubt if the LTTE (the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) wants to go to Geneva,” the head of the government peace secretariat, Palitha Kohona, said.

His statement came after the rebels scrapped plans to have their field commanders consult with the group’s leadership ahead of the Swiss talks on saving the ceasefire that has been in place since February 2002.

Kohona said the rebels “unilaterally” withdrew from a deal with Scandinavian truce monitors to transport the field commanders from the east of the island to the northern military headquarters.

The monitors had planned to transport the field commanders in a ferry accompanied by Sri Lankan naval escorts, Kohona said, adding the government imposed no new conditions on them.

There was no immediate reaction from the Tigers to Kohona’s comments.

On Thursday, Norway won agreement from