Sri Lanka's Tamil tiger rebels seek mediator at peace talks

The Tamil tiger rebels want a mediator in their peace talks with Sri Lanka's government, a demand that could delay the negotiations planned for next month, a newspaper reported on Saturday.

The Tamil tiger rebels want a mediator in their peace talks with Sri Lanka's government, a demand that could delay the negotiations planned for next month, a newspaper reported on Saturday.

The Tamil tigers have placed a brand new demand, saying
(they) will call for third-party mediation for upcoming talks, The Independent Sunday Times newspaper said, quoting
the voice of tigers radio.

The peace talks, expected to be held in Thailand, were to
be directly between the government and the guerrillas. The
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam did not specify any possible
mediator, the newspaper said.

The Tigers' official Internet website, their usual means
of releasing news, did not mention the new demand. There was no immediate comment from the government.

After two years of attempts, Norway in February brokered
historic cease-fire agreement aimed at ending the conflict
between the government and the rebels, who have been fighting since 1983 for a separate homeland for the country's minority ethnic Tamils. The majority of Sri Lankans are Sinhalese.

An official at the Norwegian embassy in Colombo said
On Saturday that it had not been decided whether the Norwegians
would be present at the planned talks in Thailand.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, also
said that Norway's deputy foreign minister Vidar Helgesen will meet the Tamil tigers' political adviser Anton Balasingham for discussions in London on Wednesday.

Bureau Report

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