Norway expresses regret over Sri Lanka decision to annul truce

Norway regrets the Government of Sri Lanka’s decision to terminate the 2002 ceasefire agreement

The Government of Sri Lanka has decided to terminate the ceasefire agreement concluded with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on 22 February 2002. Norway served as facilitator for the negotiations that led to the agreement. If either party wishes to terminate the agreement, it is required to give notice of termination to the Norwegian Government 14 days in advance.

“I regret that the Government is taking this serious step,” said Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim.

[June 2007: President Mahinda Rajapaksa meets Norwegian International Development Minister and former special peace envoy Eric Solheim in Geneva Pic by Sudath Silva]

“This comes on top of the increasingly frequent and brutal acts of violence perpetrated by both parties, and I am deeply concerned that the violence and hostilities will now escalate even further.”

The termination of the agreement will primarily affect the Nordic Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), as its mandate is set out in the agreement. It may therefore be necessary to withdraw the mission.

“This would weaken efforts to protect the civilian population, which would be most regrettable,” said Mr Solheim.

In 2000, Norway was formally invited by Sri Lanka’s President, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, and the LTTE to act as facilitator for the peace process in the country. The invitation was renewed most recently by President Rajapakse in January 2006. Despite the escalation of hostilities, Norway is maintaining a close dialogue with the parties. Since bringing the parties together in Geneva in October 2006, Norway has informed them that no further intiatives will be taken until requested by the parties themselves.

Press Release, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway

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