Norway denies it gave military training to Tigers
[TamilNet, Friday, 27 August 2004, 14:04 GMT]
The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Colombo Friday denied media reports that Norway had allegedly provided military training to the Liberation Tigers. Local media reports were based on allegations about Norway's role in Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict that were made at a conference organised by Sinhala nationalists in Oslo last week.
The following is the full text of the Norwegian embassy statement:
Following media reports referring to incorrect statements that were made at a seminar in Oslo last week, the Embassy of Norway in Colombo finds it necessary to correct the record.
The Government of Norway has, needless to say, never provided any military training to the LTTE or other armed movements.
The visit of the Political Affairs Committee of the LTTE to the Rena military camp in Norway on 1 April 2003, referred to in the media report, was a part of the Committee's tour of the Nordic countries to study aspects of democratic government, such as political parties, local government, parliamentary government, gender issues, and civilian control of the military in a democracy.
The study tour to Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark followed up on the LTTE's pledge at the sixth session of peace negotiations with the Sri Lankan Government in March 2003 to study political issues to prepare the ground for exploring a federal solution in the peace talks.
The visit to Rena lasted for four hours and consisted of a lecture and demonstration that introduced how Norwegian troops prepare to participate in peacemaking and peacekeeping operations internationally.
Norway regularly provides such presentations on peacekeeping to a wide range of organizations and governments from around the world, as a part of promoting understanding of the various peace building mechanisms in the international system. The program for the study tour, including the visit to Rena, has always been public knowledge and was covered in detail in the media at the time.