Tigers seek security guarantees to attend Swiss talks

Mar. 30 (AFP) – Tamil Tiger rebels Thursday demanded guarantees of safe passage through Sri Lanka’s only international airport to attend Swiss talks next month on saving their troubled ceasefire. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said they will attend talks in Switzerland, tentatively set for April 19 to 21, only if peace broker Norway and the Colombo government assure their safety.

The LTTE’s London-based chief peace negotiator Anton Balasingham made the demand during talks in London Wednesday with Norway’s International Development Minister Erik Solheim, the pro-rebel Tamilnet website said.

Solheim at the meeting urged the government and Tamil rebels to keep pledges made when they met last month in the Swiss village of Celigny to scale down attacks against each other.

“Mr. Solheim assured that he will convey the security concerns of the LTTE leadership when he meets President (Mahinda) Rajapakse in Colombo next week, on 6 April,” Tamilnet quoted Balasingham as saying.

Scandinavians monitoring a truce in place since February 2002 warned this week that the country could slip back to full scale war amid renewed clashes.

The warning came after a mid-sea clash in which