SL could be heading for war: Norwegian envoy

Erik Solheim made the comments in New Delhi after his deputy Jon Hanssen-Bauer met the head of the Tigers Tamilselvan.

india Updated: May 27, 2006 18:32 IST

Sri Lanka could be heading back to all-out war, the top Norwegian envoy to the island warned on Saturday, saying the peace process is more difficult than he had believed.

Erik Solheim made the comments in New Delhi after his deputy, Jon Hanssen-Bauer, met the head of the rebel Tamil Tigers political wing, SP Tamilselvan, in the guerrilla-held Sri Lankan town of Kilinochchi.

"It is very grave. There is a major crisis looming," Solheim told reporters in the Indian capital where he was due to brief government leaders on his latest peace mission to the neighbouring island.

"Sri Lanka is on the brink of very negative developments. There are five or 10 deaths every day," he said. "Sri Lanka is heading for more violence or all-out war."

After being briefed by Hanssen-Bauer on the talks with Tamilselvan, Solheim said the peace process was "maybe even more difficult" than he had believed only a day earlier. He did not elaborate.

On Friday Solheim was in Sri Lanka where he discussed the situation with President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

"There is no military victory to this," Solheim said, urging a resumption of talks suspended since April 2003.

"My strong appeal to them is to come back to the table," he said.

A pro-rebel website earlier in the week quoted the LTTE as saying the island's Tamil minority was "getting ready for the war."

First Published: May 27, 2006 18:32 IST