LTTE Refuses to Attend Ceasefire Talks

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) announced they will not attend talks with the Sri Lankan government, scheduled for 24-25 April 2006 in order to strengthen an increasingly fragile 2002 ceasefire.

The peace talks, which had already been postponed, were due to take place in Geneva, Switzerland. An earlier round of talks was held in February in the wake of serious violence in the preceding two months. At least 160 people—including about 100 soldiers and sailors and many civilians—have died in the upsurge of violence since last December. The week before the Tiger pullout has been one of the bloodiest since the 2002 ceasefire.

Ostensibly, the pullout came because of disagreements over the safe transport of regional LTTE leaders for internal consultations prior to the peace talks. But the LTTE may in fact engage in brinkmanship to elicit government concessions in talks later. The government cannot afford a return to ruinous war, although some elements in the government and army seem to think that the Tigers could be defeated militarily.

Prior to the Tamil Tigers’ announcement, Helen Olafsdottir, spokesperson for the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) commented: "It looks like both parties seemed to have completely lost sight of what is important. If Geneva peace talks don't happen then we can expect an escalation of violence as it happened a few months ago."

Related Links:

“Tamil Tigers Call Off Peace Talks,” BBC News Online, 20 April 2006.
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Dumeetha Luthra, “Sri Lanka—Talks or War?” BBC News Online, 19 April 2006.
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“Sri Lankan Peace Talks in Doubt,” BBC News Online, 15 April 2006.