Lanka Buddhist monks demand abrogation of Oslo truce

Zee News, Feb 13, 2007

Colombo, Sri Lanka -- Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka began a protest campaign in the capital Colombo demanding that President Mahinda Rajapakse abrogate the Norway-brokered ceasefire between Tamil Tiger separatists and government troops.

Yellow-robed monks of the National Bhikku Front (NBF) staged a Satyagraha near a statue of Buddha at the Vihara Maha Devi Park in the city centre ahead of the fifth anniversary of the truce, which falls on February 22.

The agreement would pose a threat to the country's unitary status and sovereignty if allowed to go on for longer, a spokesman for the NBF said.

“If President Rajapakse is to fulfill his pledges to the people, he has to abolish the ceasefire agreement," a spokesman for the NBF was quoted as saying in "The Island" newspaper.

The NBF has vowed to extend its campaign to other parts of the island.

Intensified fighting between government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) since December 2005 has left the truce in tatters, despite several attempts by the international community to revive it.

President Rajapakse recently said that the truce, which was expected to further the fledgling Oslo-backed peace process, had been a mistake.

Since his election in 2005, the military has clashed with the rebels both in the north and the east, leaving over 3,000 people dead.