Tamil rebels insisting EU monitors must go: Sri Lanka

Aug 9, 2006 (AFP) – Tamil Tiger rebels are insisting that truce monitors from EU countries quit Sri Lanka despite efforts by peace broker Norway to persuade them to drop their demand, the government said Wednesday. Norway’s top peace envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer told the government that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were demanding monitors from Denmark, Finland and Sweden must leave by the original deadline of September 1.

A government statement said that Hanssen-Bauer briefed Sri Lanka’s government Tuesday after his three-day visit to the island’s northern and eastern regions where he held talks with Tamil Tiger leaders.

“He stated that he was disappointed that the LTTE had not changed its position regarding the expulsion of EU nationals from the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM),” the statement said.

It said Hanssen-Bauer discussed with Colombo the “transitional stage of the SLMM in the run up to the LTTE ultimatum and possible options to re-constitute the SLMM to its current strength.”

The Tigers asked the European Union member states to take back their nationals from the monitoring mission after the EU in May designated the Tamil Tigers as a terrorist group.

The Swedish-led SLMM h