Tigers to raise neutrality of monitors after EU ban

June 5, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger rebels will this week question the impartiality of truce monitors from Denmark, Sweden and Finland in the wake of a European Union ban on the guerrillas, officials said Monday. The Sri Lankan government and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have sent delegations to talks hosted by peace broker Norway in Oslo Thursday to keep the faltering peace process from breaking down completely.

But the Tigers, who were outlawed last week as a terrorist organisation by the 25-member European Union block, have raised doubts over the independence of the Nordic-run Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, which comprises EU members Denmark, Sweden and Finland as well as Iceland and Norway.

Sources close to the Tigers said that the guerrillas would bring up the issue of the perceived conflict of interests from the three EU-member nations.

“The EU’s ban will conflict with the objective functioning of monitors from EU countries and will damage the trust and goodwill Tamil people had in them,” S. P. Thamilselvan, leader of the LTTE’s political wing, was quoted as saying on the pro-rebel Tamilnet website.

A spokeswoman for the mission said various issues relating to the monitori