Norway blames Tamil Tigers for failed talks

OSLO, June 8, 2006 (AFP) – Norway on Thursday officially declared talks between Sri Lanka and Tamil Tigers to improve the security of foreign ceasefire observers a failure, blaming the rebels for the breakdown. The separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and Sri Lankan representatives were to hold direct talks for the first time since February at the invitation of the Norwegian government, but the meeting, scheduled to last two days, ended early when the hosts failed to orchestrate a face-to-face encounter.

“After having accepted the Norwegian invitation, and after having arrived in Norway, the LTTE raised objections to the previously communicated intentions and modalities for the meeting”, Norway’s minister for international development, Erik Solheim, told reporters Thursday.

The Scandinavian country had called for the talks to improve security for the 60-member Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), which is monitoring a fragile truce in Sri Lanka’s long-running civil war.

The failure of talks was described as “serious” by the head of the monitoring mission, Ulf Henricsson.

Henricsson told AFP the LTTE was infuriated by a recent European Union decision to put the movement on its list