Q. Mr. Solheim, As you know the LTTE has historically proven that they participate in peace talks in order to regroup and replenish their forces. What repurcussions will the LTTE face if they resort to these tactics again? What guarantees do the Sri Lankan govenrment and people have that the LTTE is genuinely interested in a negotiated settlement? Thank You. - Rohitha Ganegoda, Pleasanton, CA USA
A. In peace processes there are very few guarantees. But we believe that both the LTTE and the government are serious in their search for a negotiated settlement. Many Singhalese of course believe that the LTTE fooled the government in the past. At the same time many Tamils believe that they were betrayed by different Singhalese governments. In order to assist the parties in finding a peaceful solutions, Norway try to focus on the future not on the bitter experiences so many people naturally bring with them from the history of Sri Lanka.
Q. Mr. Solheim. Thank you very much for your effort. My question is: The Liberation Tigers have extended the unilateral ceasfire of hostilities for the third time, where as the Sri Lankan government has done nothing so far towards this. Instead the govt is continuing with the war, with aerial bombing. Is there any progress at all? - Wijey Kulathungam, Toronto, Canada
A. There is some progress. As you write the LTTE has extended their unilateral ceasefires, which means there has been no attacks in the Sinhala south since our meeting with Mr. Prabhakaran in November. On the government side they have declared their dedication towards a negotiated settlement and indicated willingness to make more goods available inn the Vanni. We are cautious optimists. But the situation is fragile and vulnerable, and no efforts should be spared to move forward as rapidly as possible.