In Sri Lanka, Tamil Tiger rebels say they will attend talks with the Sri Lankan government later this month despite a recent escalation in violence.

The rebel group's political wing leader, S.P. Thamilselvan, told a peace broker from Norway he will name the delegation for the October 28 talks in Switzerland in a few days.

On Thursday, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher joined peace envoys from Japan and Norway in an effort to stop the conflict from degenerating into all out war.

Boucher met with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and other senior government officials.

Earlier, the rebels and government forces exchanged artillery fire in the northern Jaffna peninsula. Officials say the fighting began late Wednesday, when rebels fired artillery rounds on the army's defensive positions. There were no confirmed reports of casualties.