2nd Lead (add corrections)
SLMM Chief grounded in Oslo - Paper
[TamilNet, Saturday, 13 December 2003, 22:24 GMT]
For the last one and a half months, since he was declared persona non grata by the Sri Lankan President the chief of Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), Major General (ret.) Tryggve Tellefsen (62), is forced to work from Oslo Norway with remaining members of SLMM in Sri Lanka, using telephone and e-mail, writes the Norwegian daily Aftenposten in its Saturday issue. The paper adds that the situation is unsatisfactory that the likelihood of Tellefsen resigning from his post cannot be ruled out.
Opportunity to lead the Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission came as an interesting engagement to the Retired Norwegian General with 41 years of military experience. Tellefsen had previously worked with peace keeping missions in Sinai and Macedonia. Being held back in Oslo is therefore a frustrating experience to Mr. Tellefsen writes the paper.
"As long as the political situation in Colombo remains unresolved, it might not be possible for the Norwegian foreign minister Jan Petersen to make a decision about Mr. Tellefsen's future involvement in Sri Lanka's peace monitoring mission. Any decision made at this point may risk adverse reaction from one side or the other," writes the paper.
The paper added that Mr. Tellefsen felt he was a victimised by Ms.Kumaratunge who wanted to exercise greater influence in the peace process.
Explaining the background for SLMM's draft proposal to solve the disputes at the sea, Mr. Mr. Tellefsen told the paper that it is crucial to find a solution acceptable to both sides, Liberation Tigers (LTTE) and the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL), to the situation at the sea. He pointed out that initial recommendations for resolving disputes get exaggerated, exposed and treated as if they were final decisions by sections of the Sri Lankan media and some political circles.
"Like in other conflicts that I have experienced, to increase the chances for reaching an amicable solution, the leaders should exhibit statesmanship and have the courage to make the necessary compromises," said Mr. Tellefsen to the paper.
President of Sri Lanka, Ms Chandrika Kumaratunga, wrote a letter to Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Jan Petersen on 23 October 2003 regarding a reported incident on 16 October 2003 involving the Norwegian-led Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission and requested the Government of Norway to replace Tryggve Tellefsen as head of the SLMM.
Jan Petersen then asked the head of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, Major General (ret.) Tryggve Tellefsen, to be available for discussions, including meetings with the Nordic Governments.
Following the sacking of three Ministers on 4 November by Ms.Kumaratunge that brought the peace process to a stand-still, Norwegian peace delegation temporarily suspended its involvement until there was clarity in the political situation in Colombo. This has left Tryggve Tellefsen's matter unresolved forcing the retired General to continue to execute his duties from Oslo.