Tigers set September 1 deadline for EU monitors to quit

KILINOCHCHI, Sri Lanka, July 3, 2006 (AFP) – Truce monitors from Denmark, Finland and Sweden must quit Sri Lanka by September 1, a Tamil rebel leader said Monday, as fresh violence on the island nation left eight more dead. Monitors from the three Nordic and European Union member countries must leave as they cannot be considered neutral since the EU outlawed the rebels in May, Tamil Tiger political wing leader S. P. Thamilselvan told AFP.

Thirty-seven of the 57-member Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) team are from those three countries and Sweden is leading the team.

“September 1 must be the time frame by which they reconstitute” the monitoring mission, Thamilselvan said in an interview at his political headquarters of Kilinochchi, 330 kilometres (200 miles) north of Colombo.

In June, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) told peace broker Norway to get the EU monitors out within a month.

The Tiger demand comes even as the SLMM asked for a 25 percent increase in the number of monitors to deal with their increasing workload due to spiralling violence.

In a fresh surge of bloodletting, eight people were killed and dozens wounded in three mine blasts in the northern and eastern regions, the defence