Jan 16, 2008 (AFP) – Nordic peace monitors pulled out of Sri Lanka on Wednesday following the collapse of a ceasefire, and warned that the war between the island’s government and Tamil rebels cannot be won by either side. The Norwegian-led Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission (SLMM) was to shut down its operations late Wednesday, after Colombo decided two weeks ago to scrap a truce with the Tamil Tigers, put in place by Oslo in 2002.
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“We are absolutely convinced that this complex conflict cannot be solved by military means,” SLMM chief Lars Jon Solvberg told reporters hours before the 31-member Norwegian and Icelandic team were to leave the island.
“I find it’s my duty to come to this conclusion as we terminate our operations, although it is not a task for the SLMM to advise the parties to the ceasefire agreement or other actors on how to find a solution,” he said.
Sri Lanka has been at war for decades with the Tamil Tigers, who are fighting to carve out an independent state in the north and east of the ethnic Sinhalese-majority island.
Fighting between government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels has intensified since 2005 and some 5,000 people have died, which left the SLMM watching a slideback into war, not mon