SLMM regroups in Colombo

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 22 August 2006, 07:07 GMT]
The Norwegian Foreign Ministry Monday announced that the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) overseeing the Ceasefire between the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was regrouping it's Scandinavian monitors in Colombo temporarily. 39 of SLMM's 57 members, from Nordic EU Member States, Sweden, Finland and Denmark, were being called home as the Tigers viewed the EU proscription affecting impartiality required from the CFA monitors from the formal engagement of Ceasefire Monitoring between them and the GoSL.

Full text of the press statement issued by the Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, follows:

Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission to regroup in Colombo temporarily

The Swedish, Finnish and Danish members of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) are due to leave by the end of August, as the LTTE will not accept EU nationals as monitors after 1 September. The gradual withdrawal of these 39 monitors (out of a total contingent of 57) has begun. Norwegian and Icelandic monitors will remain in Sri Lanka, and their number will gradually be increased to 30 when the ground situation permits and demands such an increase. It is envisaged that additional monitors from other countries will be invited later.

At the moment, intensive military operations and fighting are taking place in several locations in the North and East. The parties are restricting the SLMM’s access to combat areas.

As a result, the Head of Mission, Major General Ulf Henricsson, has decided to regroup the international monitors in Colombo temporarily. This will allow the SLMM to focus its full attention on ensuring that the scaled-down mission is safely and securely re-organised under new Norwegian and Icelandic leadership. Norwegian and Icelandic monitors will be redeployed to the district offices as soon as the personnel is ready and the situation in each district permits the resumption of secure field monitoring.


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