LTTE "displeasure" over "unilateral" changes in facilitator's role

[TamilNet, Sunday, 10 June 2001, 08:15 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam Sunday expressed its "displeasure" over what it said was Sri Lanka's "unilateral initiative to change the role and function of the Norwegian peace envoy, Erik Solheim." The LTTE said the government had sought to remove Solheim because of his "impeccable neutrality, a rare quality that was viewed with suspicion and apprehension in Sri Lankan political discourse." In a strongly worded statement from its Vanni headquarters, the movement also said "the facilitatory process in peace making is not an exercise in inter-governmental relations; it involves tripartite relations between the facilitator and the parties in conflict," and observed that "[Norway's] bi-lateral decision with the government of Sri Lanka, circumventing the other party in conflict entails a breach of protocol and neutrality."

Following is the full text of the press release:

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in a statement issued from its headquarters in Vanni, northern Sri Lanka, today expressed its displeasure over the unilateral initiative taken by the Sri Lankan government to effect a change in the role and function of the Norwegian peace envoy Mr. Erik Solheim. This initiative was undertaken to downgrade and marginalise Mr. Solheim from his active, impartial facilitatory role under the guise of upgrading the level of Norwegian involvement, the statement said.

"The hasty manner in which the Norwegian Foreign Minister Mr.Jagland was summoned to Colombo for a closed door secret meeting with President Kumaratunga and the Foreign Minister Mr.Kadirgamar, where a critical decision was made to up-grade the status of facilitation without the consultation of the LTTE, the other party in the conflict, is, in our view, improper. The facilitatory process in peace making is not an exercise in inter-governmental relations; it involves tripartite relations between the facilitator and the parties in conflict. As a facilitator, the Government of Norway is under obligation to consult both protagonists before making crucial decisions with regards to its level of involvement or engagement. Making a bi-lateral decision with the government of Sri Lanka, circumventing the other party in conflict entails a breach of protocol and neutrality", the LTTE's statement said.

"We are well aware that powerful elements in the Kumaratunga Government, including Mr. Kadirgamar, were unhappy with Mr. Solheim's facilitatory role. Mr. Solheim avoided controversy and criticism of both the parties in the conflict and maintained impeccable neutrality, a rare quality that was viewed with suspicion and apprehension in Sri Lankan political discourse. In our view Mr. Solheim has made indefatigable endeavors over the last two years, facing insurmountable difficulties to achieve considerable progress in the peace effort. Therefore, it is sad to note that the Sri Lanka government has deliberately effected a crafty diplomatic ruse to down-grade and marginalise Mr. Solheim by a ploy of up-grading the facilitatory engagement", the LTTE's official statement said.

 

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