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Sri Lanka Calls For Truce Monitors To Stay The Course


The Sri Lankan government is urging European Union truce monitors to proceed with their mandate in the troubled island nation.

Tamil Tiger rebels called for the replacement of the truce monitors after the EU labeled the rebel group a terrorist organization. The rebels told a Norwegian envoy earlier this week that the monitors from Denmark, Finland and Sweden must go. That would mean replacing 37 of the current 57 monitors now in the rebel-held territories.

A government statement Saturday called the demand unreasonable. It said a unilateral decision is unacceptable and that the matter requires negotiations by all parties.

Also Saturday, defense ministry officials said that gunmen shot and killed two soldiers. Authorities blamed Tamil Tiger fighters for the killings.

Rebels have been fighting for more than two decades to establish a separate homeland for Sri Lanka's ethnic minority Tamils. Tens of thousands have died in the ethnic conflict.

The Norwegians have been trying to restore a ceasefire brokered by Oslo in 2002.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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