Sri Lanka military bombs rebel targets in east
Wed July 26, 2006 13:28 EDT .
KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) The military bombed Tamil Tiger rebel targets in eastern Sri Lanka - on Wednesday, claiming they needed to clear the region before moving engineers in to repair a water tank. Meanwhile, Norwegian envoy Jon Hannsen-Bauer was preparing for a visit to Sri Lanka - next week.
He will try to persuade the guerrillas to drop demands for the withdrawal of European Union officials who are part of a five-nation Nordic truce monitoring mission overseeing a shaky cease-fire between the rebels and the government, said Erik Ivo Nurnberg, spokesman for the Norwegian Embassy.
In May, the EU listed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam as a terrorist group. As a result, the rebels say peace monitors from Finland, Sweden and Denmark all EU members can no longer be neutral.
Monitors from Norway and Iceland are also part of the mission but neither country belongs to the EU.
Sri Lanka - 's government opposes the rebels' demand for the withdrawal of the monitors from the EU, saying that under the 2002 cease-fire agreement neither side has the right to make unilateral decisions on the monitors.
Last week, Swedish diplomat Anders Oljelund met the rebels political wing leader S.P. Thamilselvan and asked for the Tigers to reconsider their decision, but to no avail.
The rebels' demand comes amid surging violence between government troops and the rebels, threatening to destroy the cease-fire and return the island to full-scale civil war.
More than 750 people half of them civilians have been killed since the violence escalated in December.
Tamil Tiger rebels began fighting in 1983 for a separate homeland for the country's minority Tamils, claiming they can only prosper away from the domination of majority Sinhalese.
More than 65,000 people were killed in the conflict before the 2002 cease-fire.
On the net: www.TamilNet.com
Published: Wed Jul 26 18:40:04 EDT 2006