Solheim calls for urgent talks

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 28 December 2005, 11:25 GMT]
Norwegian Development Minister Mr. Erik Solheim on Tuesday expressed concern at the recent acts of violence including shooting of civilians near Jaffna University, attacks on Sri Lankan Military personnel and civilians, Claymore attacks, violence against Muslims and the assassination of parliamentarian Joseph Pararajasingham during Mass on Christmas Eve, and urged the two parties to meet urgently to strengthen the CeaseFire Agreement. Attending a one-year Tsunami remembrance event in Oslo on Monday, Erik Solheim has gone on record saying that "Norway was even prepared to take the parties to the moon" if that was the only venue left for talks.

Full text of the statement by the Norwegian Minister of International Development Erik Solheim, 27 December 2005:

Eric Solheim
Eric Solheim (Photo: AFP)
Minister of International Development Erik Solheim expressed in a statement today his Government's deep concern about the recent increase in violence in Sri Lanka. "The high level of violence and the tragic loss of life are putting the Ceasefire Agreement at risk and will make it very difficult to secure further progress in the peace process," said Mr Solheim.

Today's claymore ambush on a Sri Lankan vehicle in Jaffna, the killings of Sri Lankan Navy sailors in Mannar on 23 December, the shooting of civilians near Jaffna University, numerous other attacks on military personnel and civilians, violence against Muslims and the assassination of parliamentarian Joseph Parajasingham during Mass on Christmas Eve are terrible and tragic events. Mr Solheim said that all acts of violence must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.

Mr Solheim stressed that the Sri Lanka Monitoring Missions is carrying out its responsibilities under very difficult circumstances and expressed his appreciation for the work the mission is doing.

The Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE have the responsibility for safeguarding the Ceasefire Agreement. The two parties to the CFA must meet urgently to discuss ways and means to strengthen the implementation of the Agreement. The focus should now be on the need to stop the bloodshed and prevent further loss of life. The CFA must be upheld to prevent the further escalation of violence. The GOSL and the LTTE should put aside the discussion on venue and meet face to face as soon as possible. "The venue for a meeting is of no importance to Norway. What is important to us is that the GOSL and the LTTE meet as soon as possible to discuss the CFA and the recent tragic and dangerous developments. There is no time to lose," said Mr Solheim.

 

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