11 Feb 2002
Norway says no formal ceasefire agreement yet
[ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka]
Feb 11, Colombo: The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Colombo said that there was yet no formal ceasefire agreement presented to the Sri Lanka government and the LTTE.
The government and the LTTE are observing a self-declared ceasefire and the Norwegians are attempting to make it a permanent one before it expires on Feb 24.
The embassy was responding to media reports that the parties had almost reached consensus over an agreement. It said it was clarifying matters because some newspapers had carried parts of drafts.
It said although the parties had worked on several drafts, no finality had been reached.
The embassy emphasized that no formal draft had been presented to both sides, although several drafts were discussed. Norwegian deputy foreign minister Vidar Helgesen and Erik Solheim were in Sri Lanka last week to discuss it.
Some newspapers reported that LTTE chief negotiator Anton Balasingham would visit Sri Lanka to meet LTTE Leader V. Prabhakaran next month. If he makes the visit, he would visit the Wanni jungles to meet the supremo.
Unconfirmed reports said that peace talks could resume in April. But before talks begin the ceasefire agreement is expected to be signed.
Another newspaper said that Prabhakaran would not sign it unless president Kumaratunga signs it.
It is said the LTTE would ask a second-rung member to sign it if the Norwegians failed to get President Kumaratunga to sign the document.