Norwegian peace team arrives in Colombo

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 17 September 2003, 15:34 GMT]
Norwegian deputy foreign minister Mr. Vidar Helgessen and special peace envoy Mr. Erik Solheim arrived in Colombo Wednesday around 9.30 a.m. The visiting Norwegian envoys are scheduled to meet the Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe, Wednesday night and will proceed to Kilinochchi to meet the leaders of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam Thursday, media sources said.

A delegation of the North East Muslim Parliamentarians Forum (NEMPF) led by Minister and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader, Mr.Rauff Hakeem, held discussion with Mr. Helgessen and Mr. Solheim at the SLMC headquarters, " Darussalam," sources said.

The NEMPF delegation told the visiting Norwegian Minister that it was Norway's responsibility to ensure the participation of Muslim representatives in the peace talks as an independent group and not a part of the Sri Lankan government peace delegation, media sources said quoting the Forum's secretary and Batticaloa district parliamentarian, Mr.M.L.A.M.Hisbullah.

The NEMPF had further told the Norwegian delegation that it would be forced to take alternative steps if the government attended future peace talks without Muslim participation as an independent group, sources said.

The NEMPF reiterated, the sources said, that the government should act fast in recognizing Muslims as an independent group in the oncoming talks.

 

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