Peace efforts “moving faster than expected” - Helgessen
[TamilNet, Saturday, 20 April 2002, 18:49 GMT]
Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister Mr. Vidar Helgessen said Saturday that efforts to end the conflict in Sri Lanka are moving more quickly than expected. The state run Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) Saturday quoted Mr. Helgessen as saying that he was upbeat about his meetings with the Prime Minister, President and the LTTE leader aimed at setting an agenda for the peace talks expected to take place in mid-June in Thailand.
“Actually, it might be the case that things are moving a bit too fast because things need to settle on both sides, they need to get their respective apparatus realising the change and the amount of change taking place," he was quoted by the BBC as saying.
"The two sides of the conflict needed time to implement cease-fire agreement. They also needed time for decisions to filter down to local officials and troops," Mr. Helgessen was quoted by SLBC as saying.
He expressed confidence that the permanent truce signed by both sides and the Norwegian peace initiative were robust enough to overcome expected setbacks, the SLBC said.
Mr. Helgessen did not meet the local journalists before leaving Colombo Saturday afternoon. However Colombo sources said that he had met some foreign correspondents in Colombo over a luncheon party Saturday.