Article published on the 2009-04-13 Latest update 2009-04-13 13:45 TU
Internally displaced ethnic Tamils look at a helicopter take off over an internally displaced camp in Vavuniya
It marks the end of a decade-long effort by Norway to broker a lasting peace in one of Asia’s longest-running ethnic conflicts.
The government claims that its months-long offensive is on the verge of completely annihilating the LTTE, now cornered in a small area in the north of the island.
The United Nations reports that there are 100,000 people are packed into a thin strip of territory along the north coast, which is the last territory under rebel control.
The dismissal came after Tamil protestors in Oslo attacked and succeeded in occupying the Sri Lankan embassy there. Colombo said that repeated appeals to the local authorities to protect the diplomatic compound were ignored.
Norway had succeeded in brokering a truce in 2002, but the government pulled out of that agreement in January 2008, accusing the Tigers of repeated violations of the ceasefire, precluding any solution but a military one.
Fighting has been especially fierce recently, with UN reports alleging that there were 2,800 civilian deaths in the first two months of this year. The government denies these figures. Last week, rebels suffered 550 casualties in four days of fighting.
In an unconfirmed incident, Tamils claim that nearly 2,000 civilians were killed in a single day on 7 April, which has prompted protests across Europe.
Sri Lanka declared a unilateral 48-hour ceasefire on Sunday to allow Tamils to celebrate their new year, though they remain poised to continue their offensive afterwards.
A rebel sniper killed a government soldier Monday morning, after the ceasefire came into effect, though this did provoke the government to retaliate for the time being.
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