Norway promises engagement, no new initiative for Sri Lanka

OSLO, Nov 28, 2006 (AFP) – Norway on Tuesday said that while it did not see the need for new initiatives, it would remain in contact with both the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers following the rebel leader’s declaration that the peace process was defunct. “We are prepared to assist the parties, but we do not see the need for new initiatives from Norway at this stage,” a spokesman for Erik Solheim, Norway’s development aid minister and the main mediator for Sri Lanka, told AFP in a statement.

“We will continue to be in contact with both parties to see if they want to go on with the peace process or not,” the statement added.

Earlier on Tuesday the Sri Lankan government said it had written to Norway to ask if the island’s peace process was over after Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) declared the process defunct on Monday.

The demand was put in writing to Oslo, which brokered a ceasefire agreement in 2002, along with a letter to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission of Scandinavian truce observers, the Sri Lankan government said. Sri Lanka’s bitter ethnic conflict has claimed at least 60,000 lives since it began in 1972.