Norway names Middle East expert to head Sri Lanka peace process

Mar. 17 (LBO) – Peace broker Norway Friday named a Middle East expert as Sri Lanka’s new special envoy amid fears that the government and the Tamil Tiger rebels may skip the second round of talks next month. Jon Hanssen-Bauer, 53, replaces Erik Solhem and will be responsible for day-to-day contact with the Colombo based government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE), the Norwegian Embassy said in a statement here.

“He (Hanssen-Bauer) will be responsible for Norway’s day-to-day work as facilitator of the peace process in Sri Lanka,” the statement said.

Hanssen-Bauer, an academic, has previously worked as a government advisor and researcher, and also headed the Fafo international studies think tank in Oslo.

“Mr. Hanssen-Bauer will report to International Development Minister Erik Solheim, who will lead the work, visit Sri Lanka regularly and be responsible for Norway’s role as facilitator of the peace process.”

“I am pleased that Jon Hanssen-Bauer has accepted this assignment,” Solheim was quoted saying in the release.

“Mr. Hanssen-Bauers academic and practical experience means he is highly qualified. He has engaged in peace and reconciliation work in many countries. I am