Norway dismisses lone activist’s agitation

[TamilNet, Thursday, 19 April 2007, 15:23 GMT]
A Norwegian speaker at a symposium organised by Sinhala nationalists as a “public awareness programme on how terrorism is being promoted in Sri Lanka” was dismissed by his government as a lone agitator making wild accusations. The Norwegian, Falk Rune Rovik, who alleges that Norway is financing the LTTE, was a murder convict and has been engaged by Sinhala ultra nationalists and promoted by Sri Lankan government ministries in anti-Norwegian and anti-LTTE propaganda. The activities of Mr. Rovik, who is scheduled to address a conference in Colombo Friday, has antogonized the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, according to Norwegian press reports.

Sri Lankan Defence Ministry was promoting, by issuing news release on the participation of Mr. Rovik in a "security conference," a Norwegian news portal, ABC Nyheter, reported Wednesday.

Falk Rovik, the self-styled founder President of the Norwegians Against Terrorism (NAT) was billed by the World Alliance for Peace in Sri Lanka (WAPS) which is organising the conference in Colombo Friday, as a 'leading Norwegian Anti-Terror activist.'

The event, organised by WAPS with collaboration of NAT and Snasadaya, is scheduled to be held at 5 p.m. Frdiay at the Mahaweli Auditorium, Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha, Colombo 7.

Meanwhile, a Norwegian Intelligence source had described the activities of the 42-year-old Norwegian as "sticking the finger in the eyes of the Norwegian Foreign Ministry that deals with a sensitive process," said the news report by the ABC Nyheter. Various ministries in Sri Lanka have used Rovik's who spreads false information, the news report further said.

Falk Rovik, being used by the Sinhala extremists and promoted by the Sri Lankan authorities for anti-Norwegian and anti-Tiger propaganda, had shot and killed a 51-year-old Turkish immigrant, an owner of the Papa Sigolo restaurant in Oslo, on 26 March 1997, according to the Norwegian press.

A Norwegian court sentenced him to ten years of preventive detention the following year as he was mentally ill, having paranoid delusions, according to Norwegian press reports.

Two and a half years ago, in August 2004, Rovik, appeared as a joint-organisor of a conference in Oslo, titled "Norway and LTTE terrorism," organised by the WAPS, the umbrella group of expatriate Sinhala nationalist and extremist organizations.

Rovik was supplied with alleged secret telephone conversations between Oslo's representatives and LTTE leaders.

A website run by Rovik, svik.org (meaning treason), full of consipiracy theories, charges amongst others the Norwegian King Harald V for 'chemical lobotomising of psychiatric patients,' 'anti-semitism' and 'abuse of children in orphanages' and displays the photo of the King with the photo of Osama bin Laden.

Rovik has lately alleged that the Tamil immigrants in Norway and the Tigers have sold stolen Norwegian passports to Al-Qaeda.

He was also spreading false reports alleging Tamils for firing at the residence of a Norwegian journalist in Oslo. The allegation was baseless according to the officials of the Norwegian Intelligence PST (Politiets Sikkerhets Tjeneste).

Leading Sinhala nationalist thinkers, Dr. Susantha Gunathilake and Mr. S.L Gunasekara, are among the other guest speakers scheduled to address at the symposium and the event has been given publicity in Sri Lankan media, including the Sunday Times.

The organisers described Mr. Rovik, who as “very critical of Norwegian government's role of providing facilities for the LTTE to launch anti-Sri Lankan government and anti-peace process programmes on Norwegian soil.”

This week, in an open letter to the broadsheet, the Norwegian embassy rejected the accusations and dismissed Mr. Rovik.

Pointing out that there have been “30 years of bilateral cooperation [with Norway] to support the development of Sri Lanka,” the letter listed Mr. Rovik’s allegations - ‘Norway is funding TRO’, ‘Norway is financing the LTTE’, ‘Norway has provided military training to the LTTE’ – before responding to them.

The embassy said the TRO had received funding for demining and tsunami assistance from Norway as well as many other countries. The TRO is a registered charity in Sri Lanka,

Norway said that as part of Oslo’s peace facilitation efforts, funding had been provided to both the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) and LTTE to set up their respective peace secretariats, adding “The secretariats have been important points of contact for the civilian population, civil society, international actors, truce monitors and Norway as facilitator.”

Norway rejected accusations the LTTE had received military training, saying: “Norway has never provided any military training or military equipment to the LTTE. Such conduct would not only have been unethical, it would also have been in violation of Norwegian law.”

Responding to another of Mr. Rovik’s accusations, the embassy said:“Members of the LTTE’s political committee have visited the Rena Camp in Norway when visiting some of the Nordic countries [but] as clarified earlier by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the purpose of the visit was to present Norway’s involvement and role in peace operations around the world, and did not involve any training.”

The embassy dismissed the credibility of Rovik and NAT.

“[These false allegations are] being disseminated on behalf of the so-called Norwegians Against Terrorism (NAT). NAT is not a registered organisation in Norway. It has only one known member, and there is no indication of any other Norwegian membership base.”

“It is unfortunate that these false allegations are being reproduced and disseminated in Sri Lanka, especially by a respected media outlet.”

 

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