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Norway is not for Tamil Eelam, says envoy

Sun, Apr 13 11:34 AM

New Delhi, April 13 (IANS) Norway does not support the formation of an independent Tamil state in Sri Lanka, Norway's special envoy to Colombo has told an opposition MP from that country.

Jayalath Jayawardene of the United National Party (UNP) said Jon Hanssen-Bauer made the statement to him and to two leading Sinhalese Buddhist monks from Sri Lanka on the sidelines of an international conference that ended in Oslo late Friday.

'Norway will not support the establishment of Tamil Eelam,' the MP quoted Hanssen-Bauer as saying, referring to the name of the state the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has been fighting for.

Although this has always been the position of Norway, which brokered a ceasefire between Colombo and the LTTE in 2002, many in Sri Lanka have accused Oslo of bias vis-a-vis the Tamil Tigers.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has publicly criticised Norway on the same grounds.

Sri Lankan cabinet minister Arumugam Thondaman, who also attended the meeting, separately quoted Hanssen-Bauer as telling him that Norway would not be able to play the role of a peace facilitator as long as fighting raged in the island nation.

'How can we do that when war is going on?' the minister quoted the Norwegian envoy as asking.

Jayawardene and Thondaman were among several key people who attended the two-day conference organised in Oslo by the Art of Living Foundation of Indian spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

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