Resolute backing for Norwegian facilitation, says Erik Solheim

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 13 September 2006, 13:40 GMT]
Erik Solheim, the Norwegian International Development Minister, Wednesday told Norwegian state radio NRK that Norway had International Community's resolute backing and the mandate of the parties to the conflict for resuming the talks, after attending a cruicial meeting of the Co-Chairs in Brussels Tuesday. The radio, in its "World Today," programme said experts on the Sri Lankan issue were of the opinion that the EU proscription of the Tamil Tigers was a "big mistake." The EU ban contributed to the worsening of the already fragile situation into bloody confrontations this summer, the Radio said.

Erik Solheim
Erik Solheim, the Norwegian International Development Minister
"We have resolute support of the International Community for the process forward," Mr. Erik Solheim told the radio.

"Lately, India has done what it could in it's capacity, to support the Norwegian role as facilitator," the Norwegian Minister said.

All the actors involved in the Sri Lanka process, including EU's External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner, seemed to have realised that the EU ban was a mistake, the radio said.

Mr. Erik Solheim, interviewed by the Radio, did not comment on the EU ban and said there was no official Norwegian stand on the EU proscription of the Tigers.

"It is a known issue that the monitoring mission in Sri Lanka has expressed doubt whether it was [the EU's terror listing] a suitable way forward," he said.

Benita
EU's External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner
Erik Solheim further said that the Norwegian facilitators had "made it clear, all the time, of the importance of as many as possible from the International Community, talking to Tigers. They [the Tigers] need input. They also need channels to let their views be heard," he told the radio.

The news presenter of the radio noted that the Norwegian Special Envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer, had recently received "rock hard" criticism from Colombo for his recent statements of the facilitator's need to treat both the parties to the Ceasefire Agreement equally.

Also, Erik Solheim, noted that there were many "uncomfirtable" and "negative" articles appearing in the Sri Lankan press.

But the important concern of the facilitator was the support of the International Community and the parties, the Government of Sri Lanka and the Tigers, commitment, he told the radio.

 

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