Oslo’s envoy returns as Sri Lanka expands offensives

[TamilNet, Friday, 11 August 2006, 21:03 GMT]
As Sri Lanka’s government widened its onslaught against LTTE held areas, opening new fronts in Batticaloa and Jaffna districts, in addition to its continuing offensive in Trincomalee district, Norwegian Special Envoy, Jon Hanssen-Bauer return home Friday.

Norwegian Special Envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer shakes hands with Sri Lanka Army (SLA) commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka

Before leaving, Mr. Hanssen-Bauer, met with Sri Lanka Army (SLA) Commander Sarath Fonseka, at the latter’s office, the military said.

Mr. Hanssen-Bauer arrived last week on what was described by diplomats as a fact-finding visit, but coincided with a serious escalation of a standoff between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE over a blocked sluice gate at Maavil Aru.

Violence erupted when the SLA escalated a ground offensive against LTTE. A deal brokered by Mr. Hanssen-Bauer fell apart Sunday when the international monitors enroute to open the Maavil Aru sluice gate were targeted by intense SLA artillery fire.

On Monday Mr. Hansen-Bauer visited Trincomlaee Monday in the wake of a heavy fighting last week that displaced tens of thousand of people in both government and LTTE held parts of the district.

On Wednesday 35,000 people struggled to reach Vakarai in northern Batticaloa district and are yet to receive desperately needed supplies of food and clean water.

Also on Wednesday, Mr. Hansen-Bauer and Norwegian Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Mr. Hans Brattskar, participated in the opening ceremonies of Buddhist Temples and in the establishment of a Credit Guarantee Fund for the southern region in Galle.


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