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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 82

Erik Solheim to step down as "facilitator"

[b]Erik Solheim to step down as "facilitator"

[b]Oslo, 29 DEcember, ([/b] Erik Solheim, the failed "facilitator" accused of being pro-LTTE, told the Norwegian TV2 new channel yesterday that he will take a step back and allow a new team to handle the day-to-day work in the Sri Lankan peace process. He said that a new team will be appointed by the Norwegian Foreign Ministry.

In their Internet newspaper TV2 said that Erik Solheim is not wanted in Sri Lanka. Internet newspaper TV2

parties in Sri Lanka, except the LTTE, have accused Solheim of playing a pro-LTTE role. He was too closely aligned to Anton Balasingham, who was seen as his boozing buddy.

Previous governments have at times suspended the activities of Norway in the peace process because Erik Solheim was seen as the secret agent of the LTTE planted to do its biddings. The former foreign minister, Lakshman Kadirgamar, killed by the LTTE, too was critical of Solheim's role. He had openly said that Norway was not doing its job properly. It is suspected that Kadirgamar was killed by the LTTE to get him out of the way and to keep Solheim playing his usual pro-LTTE role.

Solheim's partisan role has given Norway a bad image in Sri Lanka. Neilson's polls revealed that Norway has dropped to 2% in the public ratings. He has been peddling the LTTE line, defending in subtle ways the LTTE violence.

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