Top Norwegian envoy due in Sri Lanka to save faltering peace bid
Shimali Senanayake in Colombo,
April 17th, 2006, SLT 6:30 pm.
Norway's special envoy to Sri Lanka is due to make an unscheduled
visit here on Tuesday in stepped-up efforts to save the island from
plunging back to civil war, officials said.
Jon Hanssen-Bauer is expected to shuttle between meetings with
President Mahinda Rajapakse, other government leaders and the Tamil
rebels. He will try to bring an end to escalating tensions between
the government and the Tigers and also ensure that talks to save the
island's tottering truce takes place as scheduled next week.
"The decision is based on the latest escalation of violence and
developments in relation to the Geneva talks," said Erik Crnberg,
spokesman for the Norwegian embassy in Colombo.
The Tigers have repeatedly said they must hold an internal meeting
between its commanders before attending the second round of Swiss
talks, prompting the negotiations to be pushed back by five days to
On Sunday, the Tigers formally informed Hans Brattskar Norway's
ambassador in Colombo, that they will not participate in the talks
until the internal meeting is held.
The missive was sent a day after accusing the Sri Lanka navy of
interfering with transport arrangement for its commanders to travel
between the island's north and east. The government has denied any
"We are still hopeful that the meeting will take place," Crnberg said.
Earlier Monday, at least eight people were killed and nine others
wounded in a spate of blasts in Sri Lanka's volatile north and east.
More than 60 people have been killed _ mostly security forces _ in
claymore explosions and bomb blasts in the last 10 days raising fears
of an outbreak of full-scale war.
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Published: Mon Apr 17 09:44:02 EDT 2006