Norwegian envoy resumes Sri Lanka peace bid

Oct 1, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s peace broker Norway is set for a fresh attempt to end a seven-month deadlock in talks after the warring parties agreed to meet, diplomats said Sunday. Special envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer will begin meetings with political leaders on Monday during a four-day visit aimed at jump-starting stalled negotiations between the government and Tiger rebels, diplomats said.

“He will start the talks with Sri Lankan government officials tomorrow and then proceed to have talks with the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam),” Norwegian embassy spokesman Erik Nurnberg said.

Diplomatic sources said Hanssen-Bauer’s visit was likely to be followed by another from Erik Solheim, Norway’s International Development Minister and Sri Lanka’s top peace broker, who will try to arrange talks in Oslo later this month.

“There is fresh hope after the government’s announcement last week that they had the commitments they were looking for from the Tigers before sitting round a table,” a diplomatic source said.

Rebels from the LTTE have stepped up ambushes and land mine attacks since December and the attacks peaked with a suicide assassination bid against army chief Sarath