LTTE's participation in Tokyo meeting crucial for peace process - Solheim

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 07 May 2003, 12:03 GMT]
“Participation of the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the International Aid conference to be held in Tokyo next month is crucial for obtaining much needed funds to develop both LTTE controlled areas in the Northeast and Sri Lanka south. If the LTTE fails to attend, international community will be reluctant to commit funds. Further, it will also be a setback to the peace process,” said Norway’s special emissary Eric Solheim in Vavuniya today.

Solheim is on two day visit Jaffna, Vavuniya and Mannar districts observe the ground conditions prevailing in these districts. He arrived in Vavuniya Wednesday morning after touring Jaffna Tuesday. He is expected to leave for Kilinochchi Thursday morning to hold talks with the LTTE leaders, sources in Vavuniya said this morning.

In Jaffna, Solheim met with civil groups and Sri Lanka military commanders and visited different areas lying within high security zones.

In Vavuniya, he met with refugee families in Poonthoddam camp and learnt the hardships the families undergo in making ends meet. Many refugees expressed their desire to return back to their own villages but were unable to do so due the army occupation or the places being not cleared yet of mines. Others told him that they do not own any land and would welcome if they are given land in Vavuniya district with help to allow them to start their lives.

Soleheim and his group also visited the technical center run by the FORUT organization in Poonthoddam and met with FORUT’s Vavuniya district director P. Suthanthiraraj, Implementation officer S. Christhopillai and Comtech director S.Uthayan.

During a meeting with the reporters Solheim said, “there is intense diplomatic activity to revive the peace process. But the success of the talks and the progress of the peace process very much depends on the hands of the leaders of the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers.”

Solheim in Vanni
Mr.K.Ganesh the GA Vavuniya is seen explaining the areas in which the IDPs have been resettled. Ms Lisa Golden, Advisor in the Foreing Ministry of Norway and Mr.L.Wijayanathan the Advisor attached to the Development section of the Norweigian Embassy in Colombo are looking on.

Solheim Vanni trip
Eric Solheim with the sun glasses is seen with Mr.Paul Henrik Keilland (with the checked shirt) the Residential Representative of FORUT, is chatting with one of the internally displaced persons in Poonthoddam welfare centre

Solheim vanni trip
Mr.S.Uthayan the director of COMTEC a technical training organisation of the FORUT is explaining to Mr.Eric Solheim and Mr. Paul Hendrik Keilland and others about the Motor Mechanism training course for students of the displaced families.

Solheim Vanni trip
Eric Solheim and Ms Lisa Golden an advisor to the Minstry of Foreign Affairs in Norway are seen outside the Poonthoddam welfare centre

Solheim vanni trip
Eric Solheim the special envoy of Norway is looking at the progress report of the Computer training centre, while Miss.K.Maithily the officer in charge of the centre looks on


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