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LTTE critical of Govt. handling of peace process

by S. Selvakumar

The LTTE delegation headed by Political Wing leader S.P. Thamilchelvan criticised the UNF government's handling of the now stalled peace process during his talks with a high powered Norwegian delegation headed by Foreign Minister Jan Peterson.

"The government failed to honour the clauses of the ceasefire agreement and did not stick to the consensus reached on a wide range of subjects during the peace negotiations," Thamilchelvan charged.

The talks were held in Oslo on Thursday and the Norwegian team was headed by Foreign Minister Jan Peterson and included Deputy Foreign Minister Vidar Helgessen Colombo envoy Hans Brattskar and Special Envoy Erik Solheim.Thamilchelvan further said that the political crisis in the South has created a suspicion among the Tamils and that since independence, Tamil community has suffered setback after setback and only bitter memories remain. "When one party comes forward to settle the ethnic issue, the other party opposes it" he further prevailed upon the Norwegian delegation.

According to reports from Oslo, the crux of his address to the Norwegian team was that the Tamil community cannot wait until the political crisis in the South is settled and a solution to the ethnic problem which he described as long drawn battles is found. But what the Tamil people wanted was immediate humanitarian aid. "This aid cannot be postponed any further," he said.

In the talks with the LTTE delegation currently on a tour of Europe high ranking officials of the Norwegian Humanitarian Aid also participated. "Only the guns are silent in the North and the East but the suffering of the people remain the same as during the past 20 years.

Only people in the South of the country are enjoying the peace dividend", he further told the delegation. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Deputy Foreign Minister Vidar Helgessen has said that Norway appealed to the donor nations not to curtail aid to Sri Lanka despite the political crisis in the South and the stalled peace process. "There is a ceasefire which means the peace process is still in place but dormant.

For the peace process to get activated donor countries must provide for Sri Lanka's economic development" Helgessen further said.

The European Union, America, Japan and Norway will meet in Washington on February 17 to review the economic aid pledged to Sri Lanka at the Tokyo donor parley.

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