Sri Lanka for talks with Tigers despite breakdown
The talks scheduled for June 8-9 in Oslo did not take place despite both the government and rebel delegations proceeding to the Norwegian capital.Updated: Jun 12, 2006 13:51 IST
The Sri Lankan government on Monday said it wants to go ahead and have direct talks with the Tamil Tigers on the Norwegian backed peace process despite the breakdown of last week's talks in Oslo.
Palitha Kohona, head of the government peace secretariat, told reporters on his return from Oslo that "the government will go ahead with the peace process and direct talks."
The talks scheduled for June 8-9 in Oslo did not take place despite both the government and rebel delegations proceeding to the Norwegian capital.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said they would not meet the government delegation as it lacked ministerial representation.
"We are disappointed that the LTTE, having come to Oslo, decided not to talk to us," said Kohona, adding that the government wants the talks to move ahead despite the setback.
The two-day Oslo meeting was convened by the Norwegian facilitators to discuss the issues concerning the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), the Nordic truce monitoring team.
The Tiger rebels have also taken exception to the participation of truce monitors from Denmark, Sweden and Finland in the SLMM after last month's decision by the EU to list the LTTE as a terrorist group.
Kohona dismissed any fears of war returning to the island, saying the government's intention is to solve the problem only through negotiations.
Last week was the second occasion in which the Tigers failed to attend talks despite pledging to do so. They skipped the second round of talks that should have been held in Geneva in April-end.
Escalation of violence since December has cost over 700 lives and raised fears of the island returning to the armed separatist conflict.
The ethnic conflict has claimed over 70,000 lives so far with no clear solution to the conflict.