Between 1983 and 2009 Sri Lanka was host to a bitter civil war fought between the Government and the Tamil Tigers, which sought the creation of an independent Tamil state. In May 2009 came the war's violent end with the crushing defeat of the Tamil Tigers at the hands of the Sri Lanka Army. But prior to this grim finale, for some time there had been hope for a peaceful end to the conflict. Beginning with a ceasefire agreement in early 2002, for almost five years a series of peace talks between the two sides took place in locations ranging from Thai- land and Japan to Norway, Germany and Switzerland.To End a Civil War tells the story of trying to bring peace to Sri Lanka. In particular it tells the story of how a faraway European nation--Norway--came to play a central role in efforts to end the conflict, and what its small, dedicated team of mediators did in their untiring efforts to reach what ultimately proved the elusive goal of a negotiated peace.In doing so it fills a critical gap in our understanding of the Sri Lankan conflict. But it also illuminates in detail a much wider problem: the intense fragility that surrounds peace processes and the extraordinary lengths to which their proponents often stretch in order to secure their progress.
Mark Salter is a journalist, analyst and writer. Starting out as a BBC radio journalist he has since specialised in Central European, West African and most recently South Asian affairs. He first visited Sri Lanka in 2002, and has been a regular visitor ever since. This is his second book.