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Sri Lanka truce monitors told not to issue statements

By Xinhua

Colombo : The Nordic truce monitoring group in Sri Lanka's troubled peace process has been told not to issue any statements on the incidents reported to them, a senior government minister said here Wednesday.

Keheliya Rambukwella, the Minister of Foreign Employment and the government's defence spokesman told reporters that, "the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) would no longer issue any statements. They have been told to entertain complaints but no statements will be issued on their rulings," Rambukwella added.

The SLMM has been functioning on the island since the ongoing truce agreement between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the government came into force in February 2002.

They observe the breaches of truce by both government troops and the rebels.

Government sources said the chief of the SLMM, Lars Solvberg, was told of government concerns on a recent report in which the SLMM had claimed that government troops had been involved in abductions.

About 5,000 troops, rebels and civilians have been killed since December 2005 in clashes between government troops and LTTE rebels.