Swiss talks failure pushes Sri Lanka to abyss

GENEVA, Oct 30, 2006 (AFP) – Talks between Sri Lanka’s warring parties here over the weekend failed to buy time to save their troubled truce, diplomats and officials said amid fears of more bloodshed at home. Peace broker Norway was unable to clinch an agreement Sunday on resolving urgent humanitarian needs, political issues as well as dates for more talks to keep the process alive.

Diplomats involved in the peace bid said there were fears that the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) could resort to their trade-mark spectacular strikes to demonstrate their ability to hit.

“I hope the parties will honour commitments to abide by the ceasefire,” Norway’s top peace broker Erik Solheim told AFP after announcing failure in the Geneva talks.

Rebel negotiators cut short a planned visit to truce monitors Norway and Iceland, and were to return home immediately for discussions in Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile, military spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe accused Tamil rebels of firing artillery at troops in the embattled northern peninsula of Jaffna through the weekend and into Monday.

The LTTE had earlier said they suspected the military were massing troops for an offensive on Jaffna, a claim r