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Norway begins fresh efforts to save Lankan talks

Norway, however, declined to say whether its latest efforts were aimed at persuading LTTE to attend talks or set new dates for the meet.

india Updated: Apr 21, 2006 12:03 IST

A bomb killed a village guard in Sri Lanka on Friday, while Norwegian peace brokers urged rebels to attend next week's peace talks with the government after the insurgents said they'll boycott the meeting, and a fragile cease-fire faces collapse.

"We are in touch with both the parties to make them meet," said Norwegian Embassy spokesman Erik Ivo Nurnberg.

In the latest violence, suspected Tamil Tiger rebels set off an anti-personnel mine in the northeastern town of Trincomalee on Friday, killing a village guard and wounding another policeman, said military spokesman Brig Prasad Samarasinghe.

The victims had been checking a road used by military vehicles when the mine exploded, Samarasinghe said.

Nurnberg declined to say if Norway's latest efforts were aimed at persuading the rebels to attend scheduled April 24-25 talks in Geneva, or to set new dates for the meeting.

The Geneva talks were meant to salvage a cease-fire that's faltering due to escalating violence in Sri Lanka, where more than 55 people -- 33 of them government soldiers -- have been killed since early April.

The leader of the Tamil Tigers' political wing, SP Tamilselvan, said they will not attend the second round of talks after meeting with Norwegian peace envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer in the rebel stronghold of Kilinochchi on Thursday.

The rebels accused the military and armed anti-rebel groups of killing ethnic Tamil civilians and rebels in the Tamil-majority north and east -- a charge the government denies.

The Tigers have fought the government since 1983, demanding a separate Tamil homeland and accusing the Sinhalese-dominated government of discrimination.

More than 65,000 people were killed in the fighting before the ceasefire.

First Published: Apr 21, 2006 12:03 IST