Norway for fresh commitment to Lankan truce
Norwegian envoy Hans Brattskar, said neither Colombo nor Tigers had abrogated the truce that was arranged and put in place by Oslo.world Updated:
Norway on Wednesday called for a fresh commitment from Sri Lanka's warring parties to maintain its peace brokering efforts on the eve of the fifth anniversary of a truce that now holds only on paper.
Norway's ambassador here, Hans Brattskar, said neither Colombo nor the Tiger rebels had abrogated the truce that was arranged and put in place by Oslo from February 23, 2002.
But he said he hoped both would see the need to fully implement it.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Sri Lankan government are regularly accused of violating the ceasefire agreement which temporarily halted fighting for about two years, and then began to fall apart.
"The Norwegian government has made it clear that it stands ready to continue to serve as a facilitator in the peace process, provided that both the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE request its continued assistance," Brattskar said.
His remarks to a non-governmental organisation in Colombo on Wednesday were released by the Norwegian embassy here, even as Sri Lanka's defence spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella re-iterated the government's right to retaliate.
"If they (the Tigers) attack, we will respond," Rambukwella told reporters.
Norway's top envoy said the peace brokers believed any settlement to Sri Lanka's long-running Tamil separatist conflict required multi-ethnic support.
"Norway has made repeated efforts to encourage multi-ethnic support, but cannot generate it alone," Brattskar said.
"It is the people of Sri Lanka and their leaders, not Norway or any other party, who are ultimately responsible for deciding the future of this country and finding a peaceful, negotiated settlement to the present conflict."
He added Norway was ready to lend its firm support.
His remarks came amid calls by the government's former Marxist ally, the JVP -- or the People's Liberation Front -- to formally abrogate the ceasefire agreement and expel the Nordic truce monitors.