Norway clinches new dates for Sri Lanka talks

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe (2nd R) arrives to visit the site of a bomb attack at St. Anthony's Shrine in Kochchikade in Colombo on April 21, 2019. - A string of blasts ripped through high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services in Sri Lanka on April 21, killing at least 156 people, including 35 foreigners. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

Apr.14 (AFP) – Peace broker Norway announced Friday that talks between the Sri Lankan government and Tiger rebels, under threat from a new wave of violence, would go ahead five days later than scheduled. The negotiations in Geneva were originally due to open on April 19, but the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said Thursday they wanted more time to discuss matters with their field commanders.

“The parties to the peace process in Sri Lanka have today agreed on a short postponement of the peace talks in Geneva,” the Norwegian government said in a statement issued in Colombo.

Norway also said the talks starting April 24 would be shortened to two days instead of three as originally planned.

The agreement came shortly after Sri Lanka’s main financial backers condemned the latest violence in the Indian Ocean island and urged all parties to stick to the timetable for peace talks.

Norway, Japan, the United States and the European Union — who spearheaded a 2003 donors’ conference in Tokyo — voiced “grave concern about the worsening situation in Sri Lanka and strongly condemn the recent acts of violence.”

“The co-chairs strongly urge the government of Sri Lanka and LTTE to meet