2nd Lead (Adds background details)

Ilamparithy meets Norway Foreign Ministry Officials in Oslo

[TamilNet, Friday, 09 January 2004, 11:53 GMT]
Liberation Tigers' Head of Jaffna District Political Wing, Mr.Illamparithy, who is currently on a tour of European countries met with Norwegian Foreign Ministry officials at the Oslo Foreign Ministry Building Tuesday, 6 January at 11 am, sources in Oslo said. Norway's special peace envoy, Eric Solheim, Advisor to Norway Foreign Ministry, Lisa Golden, and Official of Foreign Ministry, Erik Giercshy were involved in the discussions, sources added.

Illamparithy explained to the Norwegian officials the current situation in Jaffna district and the difficult life of Jaffna residents with large number of Sri Lanka Army (SLA) troops occupying the peninsula. Instead of life returning to normal after the MoU, army harrassment of people have increased and displaced people are still languishing in camps unable to return to their former homes, Illamparithy told the Norwegian officials.

"Peoples' expectations of peace returning to Jaffna anytime soon is receding fast and residents of Jaffna are disappointed at the Sri Lanka Government's inability and unwillingness to bring normalcy to Jaffna," Illamparithy said.

SLA is still occupying 915 houses lying outside the High Security Zone (HSZ) and many Temples and Public Buildings are still being occupied by the SLA, Norwegian officals were told.

Illamparithy appealed to the Norwegian Government to consider providing humanitarian aid to the displaced in 83 different temporary camps run by other humanitarian organizations.

He also told the Norwegian officials to urge Norwegian Government to reconsider the plight of Tamil refugees in Norway who are being listed for deportation. The situation in NorthEast is far from normal and available humanitarian assistance is extremely scarce for the returning refugees to be given the support necessary to resume normal life, Illamaparity told the Norwegian officials.

Jaffna Peninsula is roughly 880 km square kilometers in area and SLA's High Security Zone covers over 160 square kilometres, or close to 18 percent of Jaffna's land area. Nearly 40,000 government troops are stationed in Jaffna, roughly one soldier for every 10 Jaffna residents, enabling Colombo to have a strategic presence in the North to keep control of the cultural capital of Tamils, and to counter LTTE's military moves.


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