Sri Lanka warring parties head for Oslo talks

June 4, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s warring parties Sunday sent their respective delegations to Oslo, the capital of peace broker Norway, to discuss the safety of Nordic monitors amid a collapsing ceasefire, officials said. A five-member delegation of the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was brought by military helicopter to the island’s only international airport to travel for the meeting, officials said.

A sixth member of the Tiger delegation was expected to join the talks in Oslo from his base in the US, officials said.

Tiger guerrillas played down expectations from the two-day talks starting Thursday and said they were attending the discussions as a sign of respect for Norway.

The head of the Tiger delegation, S. P. Thamilselvan, said they did not expect a major breakthrough from the discussions.

“To respect Norway we are going for the talks,” Thamilselvan told the rebels’ Voice of Tigers radio. “We don’t think our trip to Oslo will defuse current tensions on the ground.”

The Tigers agreed to a proposal by Norway to meet for two days in Oslo to discuss the role of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) which consists of 60 observers drawn from five Nordic nations.

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