|Thursday, 29 July 2004|
|Security||Today's Top Story|
by Ranil Wijayapala
The visiting Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister Vidar Helgessen said yesterday that the two parties, the Government and the LTTE were committed to peace although there was no progress to report in terms of an early resumption of peace talks.
Addressing the media in Colombo following his three day visit to Sri Lanka, Helgessen said he was not optimistic about an early resumption of talks when he arrived in the country. "This position remains the same" Helgessen added. He said the security situation in the East and the recent incidents in those areas was disturbing the process for an early resumption of peace talks.
"There is no more clarification on the resumption of peace talks", he added.
"We underline the security situation in the East and the incidents hovering those areas are not helping to bridge the gap between the two parties on the resumption of early talks", he added.
"But neither party has a desire to return to war", Helgessen added.
Helgessen said there was an incredible complacency among the general public as it seems they think that peace has already been established.
"The Ceasefire Agreement is not the peace agreement. It only means that war has been frozen. Today the frozen war is melting at the edges. That is not a good thing", Helgessen added.
"People are strongly in favour of peace, but, not in favour of the peace process", he said.
He said President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga has demonstrated a deep commitment towards pushing the peace process ahead.
"But the President alone cannot operate in this regard. The parties, both Government and the Opposition should perform their role to achieve peace", Helgessen added. Asked what would be their next step, Helgessen said they expect to consult the international community in this regard.
Helgessen said the Norway expects to infuse more energy into the Ceasefire Agreement.
Helgessen said he would meet Anton Balasingham in London on his way to Oslo.
Produced by Lake House