|Wednesday, 17 September 2003|
|Security||Today's Top Story|
by Ranil Wijayapala
Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister Vidar Helgesen and Special Peace Envoy Eric Solheim are due here today to initiate fresh efforts to put the temporarily stalled peace talks back on track while the LTTE leadership is putting the final touches to their Interim Administration proposals. The Royal Norwegian Embassy in a press release issued yesterday described the visit of the two diplomats as 'routine'.
However, they added that Helgesen and Solheim are set to meet President Chandrika bandaranaike Kumaratunga and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in Colombo and LTTE Political Wing leader S.P. Thamilselvan in Kilinochchi.
Their discussions will mainly focus on the current situation of the stalled peace talks and to explore the possibility of resuming direct negotiations between the Government and the LTTE.
Japanese Special Peace Envoy Yasushi Akashi also expressed optimism that direct talks between the Government and the LTTE would resume in the coming weeks following the LTTE's forwarding their IA proposals to the Government through Norwegian facilitators.
LTTE Political Wing leader S.P. Thamilselvan has told visiting Japanese peace envoy Yasushi Akashi that their IA proposals are now with the LTTE leader and will be ready for handing over to the Norwegian facilitators by October. Sources in the Wanni said there is no possibility of handing over their proposals to Norwegian facilitators during their stay in the country until September 19. The proposals are expected to be handed over to Norwegians prior to LTTE Political Wing leader S.P. Thamilselvan's visit to Northern Ireland to attend a peace seminar on September 27.
The duo also expect to discuss how to ensure progress in the humanitarian and rehabilitation work in the war affected areas and how best to ensure that the economic benefits of the peace process reach people in all parts of the country.
The visiting Norwegian diplomats also expect to meet Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, representatives of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress and representatives of EPDP and PLOTE.
Produced by Lake House