COLOMBO, Dec. 16 (Xinhuanet) -- Norwegian peace envoy Erik Solheimsaid
Thursday the Tamil Tiger rebels were committed to maintainingthe ceasefire
agreement with the government, the Sir Lankan President Office said.
During his call at President Chandrika Kumaratunga's house, Solheim briefed
the president on his discussions with Anton Balasingham, chief negotiator for
the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), in London earlier this month
and his meeting with LTTE political wing leader S.P. Thamilselvan in Kilinochchi
He assured the president that the LTTE remained committed to maintaining
the ceasefire agreement signed in September 2002 with the government, the
However, he urged both parties to exercise the maximum restraint and
refrain from actions that could be interpreted as provocation, especially at a
time when peace negotiations were nottaking place.
Kumaratunga reviewed developments since the latest visit of theNorwegian
foreign minister in November and regretted that certain statements and actions
had not helped create a climate of mutual confidence.
Nevertheless, she emphasized her readiness to explore all avenues to resume
direct negotiations while abiding by the ceasefire agreement.
The president also reiterated the commitment of the government to
negotiating a final settlement along the lines of the Oslo decision of Dec. 5,
2002, and the establishment of an interim authority in that context.
During the course of the meeting, the president was informed ofthe closure
of the Embassy of Norway because of an anthrax scare, and she gave immediate
orders for the police to investigate the incident and give the embassy personnel
the fullest protection.
Peace talks aimed at ending the island nation's two-decade civil war
stalled in April 2003 when the LTTE withdrew, demanding more autonomy for the
north and east dominated by the ethnic Tamilminority.
Solheim's visit comes after the LTTE indicated late last month that the
rebel patience was running out and the Tigers may return to pursue their
"freedom struggle" goal. Enditem