Hakeem and Balasingham meet in London

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 03 September 2002, 15:40 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers' chief negotiator, Mr. Anton Balasingham, and the leader of the Sri Lankan Muslim Congress, Minister Rauf Hakeem, met Tuesday for two hours in London, a press release by the Norwegian government said. It was agreed that Mr. Hakeem will join the Sri Lankan government delegation in the first round of peace talks, the statement said. The "constructive and cordial" meeting, which Norwegian facilitator Erik Solheim also attended, was held at the residence of Oslo's ambassador to UK.

The text of the Norwegian press release follows:

"Sri Lankan Peace Process. Meeting between Hakeem and Balasingham.

"On September 3rd 2002, a meeting was held between the chief negotiator for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Anton Balasingham, and leader of Sri Lankan Muslim Congress, Minister Rauf Hakeem. Balasingham was accompanied by his wife Adele.

Balasingham, Hakeem meet"Mr. Hakeem and Mr. Balasingham discussed matters related to the upcoming talks in Thailand between the government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE. It was agreed that Mr. Hakeem will take part in the first round of talks as a member of the government delegation, in his capacity as being the leader of the Sri Lankan Muslim Congress. It was further agreed that Mr. Hakeem will participate in future rounds of talks as the leader of the Sri Lankan Muslim Congress as well as the head of a Muslim delegation representing the Muslim community. This is in accordance with the memorandum of understanding between the LTTE and the SLMC signed April 13th.

"The SLMC leader and the LTTE chief negotiator also touched upon matters related to the present situation in the north and east and to the status of the cease-fire agreement. They agreed that a new broader meeting between the LTTE-leadership and the SLMC will be held in the Vanni after the first round of talks in Thailand.

"The meeting was held in a constructive and cordial atmosphere. The session lasted for two hours.

"The meeting took place at the Norwegian ambassadorial residence in London. Special Advisor Erik Solheim, one of the Norwegian facilitators, was present as observer."


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