Government non-committal on amending Sri Lankan truce

June 22, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s government Thursday remained non-committal to demands that a failing ceasefire agreement be amended so as not to restrict truce monitoring to Nordic nations. “There have been no discussions on this issue,” said Media Minister Anura Yapa, adding, though, that a request by the Tamil Tigers to remove monitors from Finland, Denmark and Sweden was “totally unreasonable”.

In a meeting Wednesday with Norway’s ambassador, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) political head S. P. Thamilselvan said European Union monitors must go.

The demand is a response to the EU’s outlawing of the rebels and effectively hamstrings the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), which is comprised of members from five Nordic nations.

The removal of the three EU members would leave only 20 of the 57 monitors currently deployed amid an upsurge of violence that has seen at least 815 people killed since December in the island’s embattled north and east, despite the February 2002 truce.

In an earlier bid to placate the rebels and salvage the ceasefire, Norway had suggested amending the truce agreement to include monitors from any foreign country.

Yapa said told reporters