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Norwegian envoy meets LTTE political chief

Hans Brattskar held a routine but useful meeting with Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger separatists.

india Updated: Feb 02, 2007 13:22 IST

Norway's ambassador held a routine but useful meeting with Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger separatists, the embassy said on Friday, amid efforts to end an escalation of bloodshed that has returned the tropical island to a war footing.

"Nothing spectacular came out of it as it was a routine meeting," embassy spokesman Tom Knappskog said after arriving back in Colombo from the rebels' northern headquarters of Kilinochchi.

Norway's Ambassador Hans Brattskar met the rebels' top political chief, SP Tamilselvan, on Thursday.

"It is important for us to be in touch with the LTTE," Knappskog, said calling the rebels by their formal name, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

"The talks were useful," he said, but declined to give details. The rebels could not be reached immediately for comment.

The Norwegian meeting followed discussions between Lars Johan Solvberg, chief of the international body in charge with overseeing a 2002 Norway-brokered ceasefire — and rebel leader Seevaratnam Puleedevan on Wednesday.

The two sides discussed security and cooperation in the monitoring process.

A resurgence of fighting since last year has killed thousands of civilians and fighters and the country's international donors have called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and a return to peace talks.

On Wednesday, a bomb blast blamed on the separatists killed 12 people, most of them off-duty security forces in the east, where the military has in recent weeks launched a major offensive to retake Tiger territory.

The Tamil rebels have been fighting since 1983 to carve out a separate homeland for the country's ethnic Tamils after decades of discrimination by the majority Sinhalese-dominated government.