April 13, 2009 (AFP) – Sri Lanka on Monday stripped Norway of its role as broker of the island’s moribund peace process, a government official told AFP. The decision comes as the Sri Lankan government says it is on the verge of totally crushing Tamil Tiger rebels, and ends a decade-long effort by Norway to bring an end to one of Asia’s longest-running civil wars.
“The government of Sri Lanka perceives that there is no room for Norway to act as (peace) facilitator,” the official said, adding that a formal letter was handed over to Norway on Monday.
Sri Lanka formally invited the Scandanavian nation to act as peace broker in January 2000, and Oslo managed to secure a ceasefire between the government and rebels which came into force in February 2002.
The Sri Lankan government, however, officially pulled out of the truce in January last year, accusing the Tamil Tigers of frequent violation and saying they had been using the break in fighting to re-arm.
For their part, the Tamil Tigers have accused the island’s ethnic Sinhalese-majority of not being interested in a peace settlement.