Norway’s new envoy launches Sri Lanka peace mission

Apr.03 (AFP) – Norway’s new peace envoy to Sri Lanka began work Monday, discussing how to shore up a fragile ceasefire ahead of meetings with Tamil rebels and the government.

-Amal Jayasinghe: win98win@gmail.com

Jon Hanssen-Bauer, on his first visit to the island, went straight into meetings with experts from think-tanks and development organisations after his arrival, Norwegian embassy spokesman Tom Knappskog said.

During a four-day initial visit the envoy is scheduled to travel to the northern rebel-held town of Kilinochchi to discuss the outline of negotiations later this month between the government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Switzerland.

He will be joined on Thursday by Norway’s International Development Minister Erik Solheim who is flying in to see President Mahinda Rajapakse about the truce talks, officials said.

The government and the LTTE met in Switzerland in February and agreed to a further round of talks there this month.

Hanssen-Bauer’s appointment coincides with a change of guard at the Scandinavian truce monitoring operation known as the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM).

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