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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2857

Tigers supremo "Snubs" Norwegian Minister Erik Solheim

By Our Colombo Correspondent.

Colombo, 26 May, ( guerrilla supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran has declined to meet visiting Norwegian International Development Erik Solheim, the second time the Tiger supremo turned down a request for crisis meeting by the peace envoys.

The Tiger chieftain has cited security concerns as the reason to turn down the request for a meeting.

Earlier LTTE chieftain Prabhakaran refused to meet visiting special Japanese Peace envoy Yasushi Akashi, who later warned that the two parties were sliding back to war and urged the Tigers to resume peace talks.

Erik Solheim

Due to Tiger supremo's refusal, the visiting Norwegian Development Minister will confine his visit to Colombo. Only Norwegian special peace envoy Jon Hanssen Bauer will visit Kilinochchi, where he is expected to meet LTTE political chief S.P.Tamilselvan on Saturday

Tomorrow the Minister of International Development will meet the President of Sri Lanka, Mr Mahinda Rajapakse. Later the same day, Mr Solheim will proceed to New Dehli to discuss the situation in Sri Lanka with the Indian authorities. On 27 May, Special Envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer will meet representatives of the LTTE.

“The situation in Sri Lanka is complicated, and it is important not to have unrealistic expectations of the meetings. The visits are an important part of the preparations for the Co-chairs Meeting in Japan, and we will have talks with both parties,” said Mr Solheim.

The Minister of International Development will attend the Co-chairs Meeting in Tokyo on 30 May. The meeting will bring together representatives of the EU, Japan, the US and Norway for talks on how they can best assist the parties in Sri Lanka in furthering the peace process.

Hanssen Bauer

Norwegian peace envoy, Hanssen Bauer, who arrived last night met the government's Peace Secretariat Chief Dr Palitha Kohona yesterday evening.

"The meeting was basically to discuss about obstacles in resuming the second round of peace talks," the Deputy Head of the government's Peace Secretariat Kethish Loganathan said adding that the up coming meeting of the Donor co- chairs was also taken up for discussion.

Though Mr Hanssen Bauer is expected to visit Kilinochchi for talks with LTTE political chief S.P Tamilselvan, the Tiger guerrillas are unimpressed and hinted that Norwegian envoy could achieve little.

"Given the scale of violence and attacks on civilians and our cadres, it is hard to expect a resumption of talks any time. Indeed violence is escalating day by day," said LTTE spokesman Daya Master.

Ulf Henricsson

In the meantime, according to reports received in Colombo, already Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) Ulf Henricsson and Norway’s Minister Erik Solheim had met in Norway to discuss issues pertaining to ceasefire monitoring.

The SLMM chief is returning after a meeting held in Norway among the Mission's participating countries where they had discussed strengthening the implementation of the ceasefire in Sri Lanka.

Asked to reveal the outcome of this meeting, SLMM spokesperson Helen Olafsdottir said it was an "internal meeting" and she could not comment on its outcome.

Norwegian Ambassador Hans Brattskar met LTTE political head S.P. Thamilchelvan in Kilinochchi on Tuesday.

SLMM sources said the Government and the LTTE were yet to respond to "requirements" forwarded by the SLMM to commence naval monitoring.

Olafsdottir said yesterday that the Government had assured the SLMM that its reply was on the way. Meanwhile, the LTTE had responded by forwarding a letter to the SLMM.

"This letter, however, does not concern the SLMM requirements. The letter is about the general situation and their concerns," she said.

Olafsdottir declined to give details of the letter saying "it is between the SLMM and the parties concerned".

- Asian Tribune -

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