Norwegian facilitators meet Sri Lanka's President

[TamilNet, Sunday, 02 May 2004, 17:13 GMT]
Norwegian peace delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Mr. Vidar Helgessen Sunday morning met with Sri Lanka's President Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge at the President House in Nuwara Eliya in the Central Province on the latter's invitation. Special peace envoy Mr. Erik Solheim and Norwegian Ambassador in Colombo Mr. Hans Brattskar also participated in the talks, Sri Lanka government sources said.

Norway's Deputy Foreign Minister Helgessen (AFP Photo)
Norway's Deputy Foreign Minister Helgessen (AFP Photo)
The talks focused on the resumption of stalled peace talks between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Talks started in the year 2002 with the signing of a ceasefire agreement by the parties concerned to find a lasting political solution to the Tamil national question.

"It might take some time before the parties are in a position to return to the negotiation table," Helgesen said in a statement. "In the meantime it is important for both sides to respect and abide by the cease-fire agreement and to work closely with the truce monitors."

Foreign Minister Mr.Lakshman Kadirgamar who returned to Colombo Thursday after visiting China and India and Foreign Secretary Mr.S.Pallikhara participated with Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge in the discussion, government sources said.

Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge is reported to have briefed Norwegian peace team about the stand of her newly formed United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government regarding the resumption of peace talks with the LTTE, sources said.

Mr.Vidar Helgessen later Sunday evening met with Sri Lanka's Finance Minister Dr.Sarath Amunugama at latter's office and discussed in detail about the resumption of peace talks.

Mr. Vidar Helgessen is due to leave Colombo to Indonesia Monday leaving his Special Envoy Mr. Erik Solheim to go to Killinochchi to convey the outcome of the talks he has had with Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge Sunday to the LTTE leadership, sources said.

Meanwhile the section of the Colombo media reported Sunday that Norwegian facilitators were to ask the UPFA government for a written undertaking on the format and basis on which it wants peace talks resumed with the LTTE. Norwegian facilitators wanted to be certain that the UPFA's policy objectives are clearly defined before facilitatory efforts begin, according to that media reports.

 

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