Sri Lanka truce ends on Jan 16: Foreign ministry

Jan 3, 2008 (AFP) – Sri Lanka announced Thursday it had given the mandatory two weeks’ notice to peace broker Norway to formally quit a ceasefire with Tamil rebels on January 16. The foreign ministry in a statement said the February 2002 ceasefire arranged by Oslo would end in two weeks, after the government on Wednesday took a decision to unilaterally pull out of the pact.

“The government of Sri Lanka today (3rd January 2008) formally notified the royal Norwegian government of its decision to terminate the agreement on a ceasefire between the government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam concluded in February 2002,” the statement said.

With Sri Lanka’s move, the ceasefire monitoring carried out by Norway and Iceland will also end on January 16, the statement added.

There was no response from the Tigers, although rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran had already said in November that the peace process was a waste of time. The truce had initially halted the daily death toll but both sides have been drifting back towards all-out war since the collapse of talks more than a year ago.