Norwegian diplomat holds talks with Tamil Tigers’ political head asking to halt political assassinations

A Norwegian diplomat Thursday asked Tamil Tiger rebels to halt political assassinations and child conscription as continued violence threatens to derail Sri Lanka's fragile cease-fire, officials said.

Hans Brattskar, Norway's ambassador to Sri Lanka met the Tamil Tigers' political head S.P. Thamilselvan at the northern rebel-held capital of Kilinochchi.

Brattskar said that he asked Thamilselvan that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam group "demonstrate not only in words but also in deeds its commitment to both the cease-fire agreement and the peace process."

Brattskar said Norway is deeply concerned about the "horrendous, terrible assassination" of Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar that has "shocked the world."

The Tigers discussed with Brattskar about recent travel ban imposed by the European Union on Tamil Tiger representatives while it decides whether to add the guerrillas to its list of terrorist organizations, Thamilselvan said.

The guerrillas began fighting in 1983 for a separate homeland for minority ethnic Tamils in the country's north and east, claiming discrimination by the majority Sinhalese. The conflict killed nearly 65,000 people before a cease-fire was signed in 2002.

A Norwegian delegation led by Sri Lanka's former truce chief Trond Furuhovde will also arrive here next week to try and save the peace process, de Silva said.

Thursday's meeting is the first between Norway and the rebels since the ban was imposed and comes amid escalating violence, according to the AP. AM

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