Swedish go-between to thrash out EU monitor issue
COLOMBO: A special Swedish envoy is in Sri Lanka to act as a liaison
between the Peace Secretariat and the LTTE leadership to discuss the
future of the European Union (EU) truce monitors who are part of the Sri
Lankan Monitoring Mission (SLMM), the Government said yesterday.
Envoy Andres Oljelund who arrived here early this week had a series
of discussions with Peace Secretariat officials during last two days,
Defence spokesman and Plan Implementation Minister Keheliya Rambukwella
"During the last couple of days Oljelund held a series of discussions
with senior Peace Secretariat officials," he told reporters at
yesterday's weekly security press briefing.
The Minister said Oljelund was scheduled to brief LTTE leaders in
Kilinochchi on Friday on why the European Union at large had disagreed
to withdraw their monitors from Sweden, Denmark and Finland, the three
EU member countries in the SLMM. They account for more than two-third of
"He will explain the EU position to the LTTE and brief them on why
the EU disagrees with their demand," he said.
Following the European Union ban on the LTTE as an international
terrorist organisation last June, the LTTE demanded the withdrawal of
truce monitors from EU member countries from the SLMM claiming they had
no faith in EU monitors.
Questioned about the Government's stance on the issue, Minister
Rambukwella said that the Government position had not changed vis-a-vis
the truce monitors, adding that there had to be talks if the composition
of monitoring team is to be amended.
"One party cannot unilaterally change an Agreement reached by two
parties and was witnessed by the donor and the international community,"
The Minister said the Government's position conforms with that of the
International community, Co-Chairs and Norway.
The Government's argument was that the 37 Monitors from the three EU
countries in the SLMM team function in their individual capacities and
do not represent the countries of their nationality.
If the EU members are forced to leave as demanded by the LTTE before
the end of this month it would leave the 60 strong monitoring body with
less than 25 members who are from Norway and Iceland, the two non- EU
Nordic countries in the Mission.