OF THIS SECTION
LTTE delegation meets Norwegian Development Minister,
6 June 2006
Tamil Broadcasting Corporation Interview
with LTTE Political Head, Mr. S. P Tamilselvan from Oslo, Norway, 7
dialogue with Norwegian Minister, SLMM Head, 8 June 2006
Norway sends 5 point
questionaire to Sri Lanka, and LTTE - 'profoundly concerned with grave situation
in Sri Lanka', 8 June 2006
Sri Lanka Talks With Rebels
Collapse - the Spin by Associated Press? 8 June 2006
on direct talks sidelined key issues - Thamilchelvan. 8 June 2006
Norway blames EU
for Sri Lanka talks crisis. 9 June 2006
Comment by Mariam
Manuel Pillai, Matottam, Tamil Eelam, 9 June 2006
Response by tamilnation.org
Communiqué at Oslo, 9 June 2006
Tracking the Norwegian
Conflict Resolution Initiative
Oslo Talks - June 2006
Undue emphasis on direct talks
sidelined key issues - Thamilchelvan
Tamilnet, 8 June 2006
Preoccupied with bringing Sri Lankan government and the LTTE delegations to
face-face talks, Norwegian facilitators had placed less emphasis on engaging
with key issues at stake, and more on convincing the two sides to sit opposite
to each other, the head of the LTTE’s Political Wing, Mr. S. P. Thamilchelvan,
told reporters Thursday evening. He said that the LTTE had come to Oslo, at
Norway’s invitation, to discuss issues related to the Sri Lanka Monitoring
Mission (SLMM) with Norway, which is responsible for the SLMM.
Mr. Thamilchelvan said whilst there was no obligation on part of the LTTE to
meet the Sri Lankan delegation, the head of the Tigers' Peace Secretariat was
prepared to meet his counterpart, Sri Lanka Peace Secretariat Head, Palitha
Kohana, who was leading the Sri Lankan delegation, which did not include any
senior government figures.
Mr. Thamilchelvan expressed regret that Norwegian facilitators, whilst
criticising the LTTE for not agreeing to face-to-face talks, had not pointed out
the Sri Lankan government delegation’s refusal of the LTTE offer, and GoSL
delegations' insistence that they meet senior LTTE officials.
Mr. Thamilchelvan further said that his delegation would Friday discuss the
issues related to sea movement and convey the LTTE leadership's responses to the
Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission and the Norwegian facilitators.
Responding to a question how LTTE viewed the international response to the
escalation of violence, Mr. Thamilchelvan said although the international
community was expressing concern over
extra-judicial killings by the Sri Lankan armed forces, it had
stopped short of taking action against the government of Sri Lanka.
“This situation should change in order to create the
necessary environment to engage the Sri Lankan government in a peace
process,” Mr. Thamilchelvan said. “It should be borne in mind that the whole
process has been blocked by the non-implementation of the Ceasefire
Agreement, in particular, the basic issue of disarming the military’s
The International Community has failed to exert credible
pressure on Sri Lanka to disarm the paramilitaries, Mr. Thamilchelvan said.
Mr. Thamilchelvan pointed out that facilitating peace in Sri Lanka was a
difficult task, cited comments by the late Major General Trond Furuhovde, the
first head of the SLMM, who argued in an article shortly before his death
earlier this year that a facilitator must act not just reactively in relation to
the two parties but follow a strategy that allowed Norway to become a
constructive partner for peace.
Lanka Talks With Rebels Collapse - the spin?
Doug Mellgren, The Associated Press, 8 June 2006
OSLO, Norway -- Talks intended to shore up the fraying cease-fire on Sri Lanka
collapsed before they could start Thursday when ethnic Tamil rebels refused to
sit down with government officials from the South Asian island nation.
Comment: But see LTTE’s Political Wing,
Mr. S. P. Thamilchelvan statement above "Mr.
Thamilchelvan said whilst there was no obligation on part of the LTTE to
meet the Sri Lankan delegation, the head of the Tigers' Peace Secretariat
was prepared to meet his counterpart, Sri Lanka Peace Secretariat Head,
Palitha Kohana, who was leading the Sri Lankan delegation, which did not
include any senior government figures.Mr. Thamilchelvan expressed regret
that Norwegian facilitators, whilst criticising the LTTE for not agreeing to
face-to-face talks, had not pointed out the Sri Lankan government
delegation’s refusal of the LTTE offer, and GoSL delegations' insistence
that they meet senior LTTE officials."
Both sides sent delegations to Norway for what was to have been
two days of talks on security issues concerning the team of 60 cease-fire
monitors from Nordic nations who are deployed on the island off India's southern
tip. In a surprise, the rebels refused face-to-face meetings with
representatives of Sri Lanka's government. The Tamil Tiger rebel movement said
it preferred that each side discuss issues separately with the Norwegian
The breakdown left Sri Lanka in its deepest crisis since the two
sides reached a truce in 2002 with the help of Norwegian mediators. The truce
halted large-scale fighting in a nearly 2-decade civil war with 65,000 deaths,
but intensifying violence has killed at least 375 people since April. Norwegian
officials urged the parties to negotiate.
"Our appeal is very simple: Come to the table now. If you do, many lives will be
saved," Norwegian Aid Minister Erik Solheim said.But there was no indication
that would happen. The government delegation was preparing to leave Friday.
"The failure of the sides to meet ... shows we are in the deepest crisis in the
peace process," Solheim said.
Solheim, who brokered the cease-fire, had earlier warned of "low expectations"
ahead of the meeting, stressing it would only cover the security of the
international observer force. He said that in addition to refusing to meet with
government officials, the rebels also demanded that members of the international
monitoring team from Sweden, Denmark and Finland - all members of the European
Union - be excluded from the mission because the EU lists the Tamil Tigers
as a terrorist group.
"We asked them to reconsider," Solheim said, noting that the individual monitors
represent the international mission, not their home countries. The other members
of the observer mission come from Norway and Iceland. Excluding monitors from EU
members would sharply reduce their number and require months to recruit others,
The two delegations arrived earlier in the week. The five-member Sri Lanka
government mission was headed by peace secretariat chief Palitha Kohona, while
the rebels were led by S.P. Tamilselvan, the Tamil rebels' political chief.
Tamilselvan said he had wanted to use the talks to discuss with the Norwegians
the issue of the monitors and the EU's listing last week of the Tamil Tigers as
a terror group. Discussions "at this crucial juncture would be productive when
the delegations raise the issues separately with the Norwegian facilitators," he
said in a statement.
Matottam, Tamil Eelam, 9 June 2006
Thank you for publishing the
5-point letter sent to Rajapakse and Talaivar from the Royal Norwegian
Government. The interview
given by Thamilchelvam from Oslo to the Diaspora media today was clear
and succinct. As an Eelamite however, I'm profoundly concerned as to the
current position taken by the SLMM and Norway regarding the Tamils.
By sending this letter are both parties: the interlocutors
and the Monitors agreeing to the fact that the
Defacto state is a legitimate representative of the Tamil Nation and
therefore their presumed Freudian-slip of "non-state actors" rhetoric was
inappropriate. Furthermore, it was mentioned in the media that the Nordic
countries are involved in the SLMM but in the same breath they inadvertently
excluded Iceland. Iceland states in their government publications that they
have sent "observers" to two countries 1) Northern Afghanistan 2) Sri Lanka.
Is there a legal distinction between an observer and a truce
monitor? We should be grateful if
could enlighten us please. Can Norway confirm and guarantee to
the Tamil people that the SLMM would play a neutral role. In the light of
the current situation that seems to be paramount. SLMM's track record
unfortunately is quite muddled and much to be desired.
Response by tamilnation.org
The 'observer' from Iceland is a 'truce
observer' and is a member of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission. The terms
'observer' and 'monitor' are sometimes used interchangeably in the context
of the Sri Lanka - LTTE ceasefire. The SLMM is also sometimes referred to in
common parlance as the 'observer mission'.
The real question may not be whether Norway
'can guarantee that the SLMM would play a neutral role.' The question that
must be asked why it was that the Ceasefire Agreement
stipulated in clause 3.5
that the SLMM 'shall be composed of representatives from Nordic countries'.
It was because these Nordic countries had not banned the LTTE unlike
for instance the US, UK or India - and that therefore, hopefully the
neutrality of the SLMM may be secured by Nordic representation.
Now with the ban imposed by Sweden,
Denmark and Finland (of the EU), that neutrality can no longer be assured.
It is understandable that the Norwegian Development Minister Erik Solheim
has sought to smooth over the problem created by the EU ban and has
suggested that the 'individual monitors represent the international mission,
not their home countries'.
But the fact is that individual monitors, though members of
an 'international mission' continue to be citizens of the countries to which
they belong and are bound to obey the laws of their countries and the
international obligations that each of their countries has signed up to. And
indeed, the monitors are themselves chosen after consultations with the
countries concerned and with their acceptance.
The question therefore is not simply one of who the monitors
represent, but also one of securing neutrality in action. And here, even
apart from any thing else, the track record of the SLMM even before
the EU ban was by no means exemplary as evidenced by its effort to
water down its report that
forces have, in the North and the East, been involved in extrajudicial
killings of civilians.'
In the case of the monitors from Sweden, Denmark and Finland
there will be a clear conflict of interest between their role as monitors
and their duties as loyal citizens of the countries to which they belong -
countries which have listed the LTTE as a terrorist organisation and who
have undertaken to freeze LTTE assets and so on.
It was because Norway foresaw the difficulties that a EU ban
will cause to the peace process, that Norway itself made a
public announcement in January 2006 that it will no longer align itself with
EU List of Banned Individuals & Organisations. If it had not done so,
Norway would have had no option but to give up its facilitator role. It is
perhaps important for all concerned to recognise that it is not only
facilitators but also monitors (or 'truce observers') who must be both
neutral and be clearly seen as being neutral. As the old adage goes -
justice must not only be done but must also be seen to be done. It would be
simplistic to assume that this can be achieved by guarantees by the
Norwegian government, however well intentioned such guarantees may be. After
all if it was a question of guarantees, there would have been no need for
Norway to have made the public announcement that it did on 4 January 2006.