Sri Lanka names negotiators amid Norway, Swiss moves

Feb 9 (AFP) – Peacebroker Norway and talks host Switzerland stepped up diplomatic moves Thursday to arrange face-to-face talks between Sri Lanka’s warring parties as Colombo named more peace negotiators. Norway’s top envoy here, Hans Brattskar, and Swiss ambassador Bernadino Regazzoni flew to the rebel-held town of Kilinochchi to arrange for Tiger negotiators to travel to Geneva in two weeks, a government official said.

“They will try to finalise travel plans for the Tiger delegation,” an official close to the peace process said.

Both the Sri Lankan government and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) agreed on January 25 to end a nearly three-year deadlock in the Norwegian-backed peace process and start talks on saving their troubled truce.

The government announced Thursday the names of two ministers who will be part of the peace negotiating team to be headed by Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva.

Industries minister Rohitha Bogollegama and Trade Minister Jayeraj Fernandopulle will be in the team and more members are likely to be appointed, Yapa told reporters here.

The government also has named another committee headed by Foreign Minister Mangala Samarawee