Norway demands end to Sri Lanka hostilities ahead of talks

CEAT Kelani Holdings Managing Director Ravi Dadlani (right) and Lanka Ashok Leyland CEO Umesh Gautham exchange the OEM agreement

COLOMBO, Oct 11, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s peace broker Norway Wednesday asked the government and Tamil Tiger rebels to cease hostilities after the two parties agreed to end an eight-month deadlock in their negotiations.

Norway’s top peace broker Erik Solheim welcomed the agreement between the Sri Lankan administration and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Tuesday to enter talks on October 28 in Switzerland.

Solheim, who is also Oslo’s international development minister, said in a statement sent here that the willingness expressed by the two warring parties was “most welcome.”

“It is crucial that the government and the LTTE now use this opportunity to cease hostilities,” Solheim said. “They are taking a small but important step towards continuing the peace process although the situation on the ground remains difficult.”

On Tuesday, the Tigers told Norwegian ambassador Hans Brattskar that they were ready to resume peace negotiations with the government but would reconsider if security forces kept up attacks against them.

“We are ready for talks, and agreed to the venue and date,” the LTTE’s political wing chief S. P. Thamilselvan said in a statement posted on their official website.

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