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

Norway's dubious role in Sri Lanka

[b]Norway's dubious role in Sri Lanka[/b]

By H. L. D. Mahindapala

[b]Part I[/b]

The voices against Norway have been rising for some time not just among the 'Sinhala extremists', "Sinhala chauvinists", "Sinhala racists" – the usual labels used by the pro-Norwegian NGOs to denigrate those who question the motives and the partisan role of Erik Solheim – but even among objective political observers outside Sri Lanka. The latest is a succinct editorial in The Hindu, (April 5, 2006) the respected Indian national newspaper.

It deals with the attempt of the LTTE to pass its rebellious baby, "Karuna", which the Tigers have failed to control, to the Sri Lankan government. In an acid comment it said: "That Norway and the international ceasefire monitors parrot the LTTE's demand on this issue (that Sri Lankan government should disarm Karuna) is deplorable…….. The charge that the Government is in violation of the ceasefire by not disarming Karuna is completely over the top."

It is this "bizarre demand" (The Hindu) which is legitimized by Erik Solheim. He not only "parrots" it but goes around arguing to make it a critical issue on which the peace process hangs. It was raised at the Geneva talks and there are no prizes for guessing on whose side he was. He argues passionately even though Hagrup Haukland, his appointee to head the Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission, told a Sri Lankan newspaper just before he left that there is no evidence to link the Karuna group as an appendage of the Sri Lankan Army.

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