Solheim meets Rajapakse, Hakeem
[TamilNet, Friday, 28 May 2004, 16:42 GMT]
Norwegian special peace envoy, Mr.Erik Solheim, Friday met with the Prime Minister, Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse, and the leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), Mr.Rauff Hakeem, and discussed the latest developments that
have arisen in finding a consensus in resuming the stalled peace talks between the Government of Sri Lanka and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, political sources said.
After about an hour of talks with Mr.Solheim, Mr.Rajapakse told mediapersons in Colombo later that the peace envoy had told him that a favourable situation could be seen in the peace process, media sources said.
Both discussed in detail the obstacles that should be removed to take forward the peace process. Mr.Rajapakse told Mr.Solheim that the President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunge, was committed to peace process, sources said.
Later Mr.Solheim met with Mr.Rauff Hakeem, the SLMC leader, at the latter's residence.
Mr.Hakeem reiterated the position of the SLMC that in future peace talks Muslims should be accommodated as a separate entity and it should be the responsibility of the international community to ensure the aspirations of Muslims in this regard, sources said.
There are conflicting reports of Mr. Solheim's next moves. One source said that Mr.Solheim is likely to visit Kilinochchi Saturday to convey the stand of President Kumaratunge on the question of preparing a base for future talks to LTTE leadership. But another source said Mr.Solheim would leave for Oslo immediately to confer with his superiors of the Norwegian facilitation team regarding the latest developments.