Norway to launch fresh bid to salvage Sri Lankan peace process

Norway is sending a top envoy for another attempt to save Sri Lanka’s faltering peace process amid fears that Tiger rebels may return to their protracted armed struggle, diplomats said Sunday. Norway is sending a top envoy for another attempt to save Sri Lanka’s faltering peace process amid fears that Tiger rebels may return to their protracted armed struggle, diplomats said Sunday. Envoy Erik Solheim is due here in eight days to try and get talks back on track after both Colombo and Tiger rebels insisted they were sticking to their guns on pre-conditions for resuming dialogue, diplomats said.

“The visit is almost considered a routine monthly touch-base sort of exercise, but this time it assumes more importance given the deterioration of the overall situation,” a Western diplomatic source said.

Prospects for ending the three-decades of Tamil separatist conflict dimmed further last week after the government of President Chandrika Kumaratunga rejected Tiger demands for reopening the stalled talks.

Retired air force chief Harry Gunatillake said Solheim’s visit would help keep up appearances, but the entire process was in trouble.

“It is important for the Norwegians to remai