Norway urges ‘cessation of hostilities’ and return to prior positions

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 02 August 2006, 17:32 GMT]
Peace facilitator Norway Wednesday said that the intensive military operations by the LTTE and the government of Sri Lanka had resulted in ‘deadlock’ and could easily escalate the armed conflict. The first statement issued by Oslo comes one week after Sri Lanka’s military began to advance into LTTE controlled areas and on the day the LTTE launched a major counter-offensive. It calls on both sides cease hostilities and withdraw to their prior positions. Norwegian Special Envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer is to make a pre-scheduled visit to Sri Lanka Thursday despite the outbreak of hostilities, International Development Erik Solheim said.

The full text of the statement follows:

Norway urges immediate cessation of hostilities in Sri Lanka During the past few days, the parties to the Sri Lanka Ceasefire Agreement, the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), have engaged in intensive military operations following the LTTE’s closure of the water supply from the LTTE-controlled area to the government-controlled area. The situation is deadlocked and could easily lead to an escalation of the armed conflict. The hostilities violate the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement.

Mr. Erik Solheim
Mr. Erik Solheim
“Norway urges the immediate cessation of hostilities on both sides in order to pave the way for negotiations aimed at resolving the water dispute. The LTTE must reopen the water supply to prevent further civilian suffering and damage to crops, and both parties’ military forces must withdraw to the positions they held when they entered into the Ceasefire Agreement in 2002,” said Minister of International Development Erik Solheim.

The escalation of the conflict coincides with the deterioration of the situation of the civilian Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM). The LTTE has refused to cooperate with Danish, Finish and Swedish monitors since the EU included the LTTE in its list of terror groups earlier this year. On 3 August Special Envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer will make a long-planned visit to Sri Lanka for talks with the parties.

“I am sending Hanssen-Bauer to Sri Lanka to discuss the future of the SLMM with both parties. The SLMM monitors from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Norway have done and are doing a great job in these difficult times. Their efforts have undoubtedly been decisive in getting the parties to respect the Ceasefire Agreement,” said Mr Solheim.


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