Norway calls for ceasefire in Sri Lanka
Norway has also sent its peace broker to shore up the Nordic truce monitoring mission, reports PK Balachandran.india Updated: Aug 05, 2006 17:52 IST
Peace facilitator Norway on Wednesday called upon the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE to immediately cease hostilities and go for talks to end the dispute over the waters of the Mavil Aaru river in the Eastern district of Trincomalee.
Urging an end to the on-going military operations, Norway's chief peace broker and International Development Minister, Erik Solheim said: "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."
"The situation is now deadlocked and could easily lead to an escalation of the armed conflict. The hostilities violate the Ceasefire Agreement."
More than sixty military combatants and civilians have perished in the last week or so in firing, aerial bombing, sea battles and land mine attacks triggered by the closure of the dam by the LTTE on July 20.
The war over water had spread to Batticaloa and Mullaitivu districts. And on Thursday, there was artillery shelling in the North Western district of Mannar.
Peace broker to discuss truce monitors issue
Norway has sent its Special Peace Envoy, Hanssen Bauer, to Sri Lanka, to shore up the Nordic truce monitoring mission, which has been crippled by the exit of personnel from the European Union (EU) countries.
The decision of Sweden, Denmark and Finland to quit followed the LTTE's announcement that it would not entertain them from September 1 onwards because the EU had banned the organisation.
Bauer will discuss the current grim situation with both the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE and try to find an amicable settlement.