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Last Updated: Monday, 29 May 2006, 11:41 GMT 12:41 UK
Tigers 'will attend' Oslo talks
Tamil Tiger rebel leaders, Thamilselvam (in the centre) and Anton Balasingham (r)
Norway will have to arrange for the safe transport of the rebel leaders
Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels have agreed to attend talks in Oslo next month on the security of peace monitors, reports say.

The rebels have agreed on the condition that transport can be arranged and security guaranteed.

But a rebel leader, SP Thamilselvan, stressed that the talks would be separate to peace talks with the government which began in February.

A sharp increase in violence since then has threatened to derail those talks.

The Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission wants to provide protective gear for its staff and increase its numbers by 25%.

This follows an attack on a naval ship less than three weeks ago in which at least 17 sailors were killed.

The attack was carried out despite the presence of international truce monitors aboard the vessel.

The government said on Saturday that it would attend the talks if the Tigers agreed.

Last month, Norway's envoy to Sri Lanka, Jon Hanssen-Bauer, said that the Tigers and the Sri Lankan government have said they will return to peace talks in Geneva.

Those talks are expected to be held in June.

More than 100 people have been killed in a surge of violence in recent weeks.

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