Peace brokers face tough battle in clearing way for Sri Lanka peace talks

Oct 22 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s warring parties were bracing for talks aimed at saving a tattered truce, but arranging next weekend’s parley is becoming a logistical “minefield” that could blow up before the meeting begins. Peace broker Norway’s breakthrough last week, when it coaxed the rebel Tamil Tigers to talks, appears to have been undermined by seemingly dry administrative details that have taken on serious political meaning, diplomats say.

Both sides will not even sleep under the same roof in Geneva as they had done during previous talks.

In addition, neither Colombo nor the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have named their delegations, casting further suspicion about their willingness to stop the spiralling bloodshed.

An earlier round of peace talks in June was scuttled when the LTTE refused to negotiate with a Sri Lankan delegation that was considered too junior by the Tigers.

Both sides had already arrived in Oslo, Norway, for the meeting when the rebels pulled out of negotiations.

“There is an enormous amount of mistrust between the parties and arranging the details is a minefield,” said a foreign diplomat involved in the talks, which are set to be held October 28-29.


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