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Last Updated: Friday, 21 July 2006, 12:28 GMT 13:28 UK
Tigers reject EU monitors appeal
Member of the monitoring mission
The Sri Lankan government wants EU monitors to stay
Tamil Tiger rebels have rejected a Swedish appeal to reconsider their demand that European Union ceasefire monitors leave Sri Lanka.

The Tigers demanded the withdrawal of the monitors by September 1 after the EU listed the Tamil Tigers as a terrorist organisation.

The group conveyed their position to visiting Swedish envoy Anders Oljelund.

Violence has heightened recently between Tamil Tigers and government forces undermining the 2002 truce.

The Sri Lankan government says that it wants monitors from the EU to remain as part of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) comprised of 57 monitors from Nordic countries.

'Unbiased neutrality'

It is not clear exactly what the Tiger deadline means, the monitors say.

"What does the demand mean? Have they threatened the safety of EU nationals or not?" Thorfinnur Omarsson, SLMM spokesman said to Reuters.

"If they can't guarantee (our) safety, they are not committed to the ceasefire agreement."

The Tigers told Mr Oljelund that their position had not changed.

Tamil Tiger political chief S P Thamilselvan told reporters after the meeting: "Unbiased neutrality between the parties to the conflict was fundamental in choosing Nordic countries for the peace monitoring in the first place," the pro-Tiger website Tamilnet reports.

The withdrawal of monitors from EU countries Denmark, Finland and Sweden would leave a total of only 20 monitors.

Renewed violence since the beginning of the year has claimed at least 700 lives.




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