Norwegian delegation "cautiously optimistic"

[TamilNet, Friday, 11 January 2002, 19:32 GMT]
The Norwegian peace delegation Friday expressed cautious optimism over finding a peaceful solution to the ethnic conflict in the island. The delegation leader Mr.Vidar Helgeson, Norway's Deputy Foreign Minister, said there was increased level of confidence between the parties concerned.

The Norwegian delegation left Colombo Friday night after two days' talks with President Chandrika Kumaratunge, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe and leaders of several Tamil and Muslim political parties.

vidar_helgesen.gifThe Norwegian delegation in its talks with the government leaders discussed in detail the outcome of the talks it held earlier with Dr.Anton Balasingham, political advisor of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in London.

Helgeson further said that the proposed peace process would be challenging, and both parties would face difficulties.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), a major constituent of the United National Front Government Friday said that it would extend its wholehearted support to the Norwegian initiative in finding a permanent political solution to the ethnic problem. The SLMC said this in a statement released Friday after its leader Minister Mr.Rauff Hakeem met the Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister.

In the meantime, media spokesman for the Presidential Secretariat, Harim Peiris, said that President Kumaratunge fully supports the peace initiative of the UNF government in finding a peace solution for the ethnic problem.


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