In Sri Lanka, the Tamil Tiger rebels have reaffirmed their commitment to a four-year truce that is under threat from spiraling violence. Clashes between rebels and government troops have intensified in recent days.
The Tamil Tigers say they have conveyed their commitment to the 2002 truce in a letter to Norwegian peace mediators. The rebels said they support the Norwegian-brokered cease-fire that halted an ethnic war in the country, and want to continue with a peace process to permanently end the conflict.
The Tigers were responding to Norwegian mediators who asked the rebels to reaffirm their commitment to the truce after they walked out of talks with the Sri Lankan government earlier this month in Oslo.
However, it is unclear if the Tamil Tigers have lifted their objections to the presence of monitors from the European Union who are supervising the truce. The Tigers did not want the monitors to continue after the EU labeled the Tamil Tigers as a terrorist group.
The Sri Lankan government has already said it remains committed to the cease-fire and the peace process.
On Monday, the government's peace secretariat urged the rebels, known as the LTTE, to return to the negotiating table.
"We do not think this is the time to cast blame on the other, but to move forward. We call on the LTTE to give up this intransigent stand, to come for talks either through the good offices of Norway or even direct negotiations," said Ketesh Loganathan, deputy director of the peace secretariat.
The government's appeal for talks and the Tigers commitment to the truce comes as escalating violence has killed more than 100 people in the past week.
A Norwegian envoy is expected to travel to the north of the country on Wednesday to hold talks with the rebels.
The 2002 truce had raised hopes of ending an ethnic conflict that was triggered by rebel demands for a homeland for the minority Tamil community. Near daily violence in recent months has put a question mark on the peace process.