LTTE to await official word from Norway on peace process

[TamilNet, Sunday, 25 April 2004, 03:37 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers will inform their stand on resuming the peace process if the Norwegian government officially informs the LTTE about the Sri Lankan government's stand, Mr. Daya Master, the media coordinator of the LTTE, told the Tamil media on Saturday. Meanwhile, sources quoting the Norwegian Embassy in Colombo say a high level delegation of the Norwegian government will visit Colombo in the first week of May to hold discussions with the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE.

Sri Lanka’s President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunge, last week invited Norway to resume its role as facilitator for the peace process between the GoSL and the LTTE.

Norway had suspended its role as facilitator of the peace talks following the taking over of three key ministries, including defense, from the United National Front Government by the President on November 3, precipitating a cohabitation crisis between the President and the UNF. The Norwegians said that they needed clarity in Colombo over who would be responsible for the peace process.

The cohabitation crisis led to fresh General elections on April 2 and a new government in Colombo.

According to sources that quoted the Norwegian Embassy in Colombo, the Norwegian Prime Minister, Mr. Kjell Magne Bondevik, has accepted the invitation and a high level delegation including the Foreign Minister, Mr. Jan Petersen, his deputy, Mr. Vidar Helgesen, and Special Peace Envoy, Mr. Erik Solheim, will visit Colombo in the first week of May.

During their visit, the Norwegian team is expected to visit Kilinochchi for talks on resuming the peace process, the sources said.

Mr. Daya Master said that any future peace talks would be based on the recognition of the concepts of self-determination and traditional homeland as presented in the Interim Self-Governing Authority (ISGA) proposals submitted by the LTTE to the previous United National Front government of Sri Lanka.

During the recent meeting with the Tamil National Alliance MPs, the LTTE leader, Mr. V. Pirapaharan, reiterated the ISGA proposals, said Mr. Daya Master, adding that Sri Lanka’s President should accept this as a basis for the talks. “If this is accepted as a basis for talks, then the chances of LTTE participating in the talks and the peace process being taken forward without disruptions are good,” Daya Master said.

Political observers say that the chance of the peace process being taken forward hinges on the actions of the ultra-nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), which is a partner of the President’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party in the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance. The JVP and sections of the SLFP have been vocal in their opposition to the peace process and the ISGA proposals, and observers say that the UPFA could face deep divisions over the issue.

 

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