Sri Lanka slams truce monitors for withdrawal
Sri Lanka's government has accused Finland and Denmark of giving in to terrorists by pulling their ceasefire monitors from the country at the insistence of separatist Tamil Tiger rebels, a report said on Saturday.
"It is a bad precedent for the whole world, which is supposed to be fighting against terrorism," said chief government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella, the state-run Daily News reported.
"They have succumbed to the pressures of a terrorist organisation," Rambukwella was quoted as saying.
Finland and Denmark decided to withdraw their nationals from the European monitoring mission overseeing a shaky ceasefire between the Sri Lankan military and Tamil Tiger rebels because of inadequate security, a spokesman said on Friday.
Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission acting spokesman Robert Nilsson said the two countries notified the group that their monitors will withdraw on September 1.
"The foreign ministries back home feel that they don't get proper security guarantees for their monitors, that is why they are withdrawing," Nilsson said on Friday.
"This is quite worrying," he said. "In the end it's the Sri Lankan people that will be affected by it."
Finland has 12 monitors in the mission, while Denmark has eight, he said. The 57 monitors come from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and Finland.
The rebels also warned Sweden to withdraw its monitors, but it is unclear what its plans are.