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Archive for April 23rd, 2007

Fear due to insecurity in Sri Lanka

Posted by African Press International on April 23, 2007

Norway’s chief mediator in the long-troubled process to bring peace to Sri Lanka was urged against making a routine trip to the rebel-controlled northern part of the country on Monday. That raised fears the Sri Lankan government was planning a major attack on rebel strongholds.

Ambassador Hans Brattskar (right) shown arriving on an earlier trip to rebel territory in the northern portion of Sri Lanka.

PHOTO: STR

Norwegian Ambassador Hans Brattskar told Aftenposten.no that he was advised to call off a routine trip to the rebel-held north because of “security concerns.”

Brattskar was planning to leave Monday for an overnight trip to Kilinochchi, the headquarters of the Tamil Tiger rebels, to meet with the insurgents. He said he got a call from the Sri Lankan foreign ministry Sunday evening, however, in which ministry officials recommended against traveling north.

“We found it right to take the recommendation seriously,” he said.

Brattskar told Aftenposten.no, however, that it’s not the first time a planned visit to rebel territory has been postponed. He thinks contact with leaders of the Tamil Tigers will resume quickly.

Norway helped broker a 2002 cease-fire between the government and rebels, and has continued to serve as a mediator even after fighting resumed during the past year.

Western diplomats told the Associated Press that they found the cancellation of the trip alarming. The diplomats, aid workers and analysts worry the government is planning more attacks on the rebels in the north.

The rebels, who have launched more than 200 suicide bombings in the past quarter-century, have vowed to respond to any such move with their “full capacity.”

By Kurt Haugli and Nina Berglund

Lifted and published by African Press in Norway, apn

source.aftenpostenEng.ap

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