South Asia

Erik Solheim rejects Rajapaksa’s allegations

This November 3, 2000 file photo shows Norwegian special envoy Erik Solheim (left) shaking hands with Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam leader Velupillai Prabakaran, as Norwegian Ambassador to Sri Lanka Jon Westborg looks on, at a rebel hideout in northern Sri Lanka.  

Norwegian diplomat Erik Solheim has refuted President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s allegations that he had financed the LTTE during the peace talks in Colombo between 1999 and 2006.

“Norway as the third, facilitating party to the Sri Lankan peace process financed neither the LTTE in general or its military operations in particular,” said the former Norwegian International Development Minister and peace envoy, who played a key role in the Norway-led peace process.

In a public meeting on Sunday, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said he wanted Oslo to probe the role of Mr. Solheim, who recently announced his willingness to give evidence before any international tribunal investigating Sri Lanka’s rights record.

Responding, Mr. Solheim said Norway made economic resources available to the LTTE peace secretariat in order to assist them in engaging more fully with the ongoing peace process. This included a radio transmitter. This, he said, was done with the full knowledge of the Government of Sri Lanka under different leaders, including during the period when Mahinda Rajapaksa was Prime Minister.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 6:59:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/south-asia/did-not-fund-ltte-former-norwegian-peace-envoy/article11013801.ece

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