Childish behaviour of Norway

Norway’s withdrawal from the Peace talks in Sri Lanka has created a big dent in the political landscape of the Island Republic. Still the country is unable to come to grip yet with the reality that Norwegians had gone leaving the Sri Lankans to mind their business all alone the Peace process.

There is no doubt that a political crisis is prevailing in the south. The country’s President and Prime Minister are at each other’s throat, but that does not mean they were ever against the Peace process.

When Vidar Helgesen, Deputy Foreign Minister and the Norwegian delegation met Sri Lanka’s President on November 13, she told definitively, "Prime Minister Wickremasinghe having taken the peace process forward over the past two years, should continue to give it leadership and any problems that arise could be discussed with me."

She also declared that, she would not hesitate to sign any solution acceptable to all communities in the island, when it is reached.

After hearing such positive assurances from the head of state of the country, suddenly what made them to renege on their pledge to facilitate peace in Sri Lanka?

In case the Prime Minister would have said differently, it would have been the obligation of the Norwegians to meet the President once more and reported the Prime Minister’s position and could have come to some reasonable conclusion with the President regarding the continuation of the Peace process.

Instead, Vidar Helgesen jumped the gun by announcing that Norway is withdrawing from the peace process. May be Norway would have come to the conclusion that it was the best opportune moment to get out of Sri Lanka, before being ignominiously pushed out.

Undoubtedly, it is the discretion of Norway, whether for them to choose to remain, or choose to be out, but unfortunately in the process, Vidar Helgesen made a cavalier type remark: "It is clearly not, and it has never been, within Norway’s mandate to facilitate between the political parties in the south."

This was one of the most uncalled-for observations made by a responsible diplomat from Norway, regarding the political situation in Sri Lanka.

Norway came over to fix peace in the country, and they evolved a proces on their own without getting the consensus of the political parties in the country and thus won the enmity of almost all the political parties and groups inside and outside the country.

In the south, majority of the Sinhala speaking people, Buddhist clergies and opposition political parties, right from the very beginning began to vent their opposition to Norwegian partisan facilitation approach.

Even the Tamil rival political groups resented Norway’s highhanded approach for deciding on Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam as the sole representatives of the Tamils.

Regrettably, Norway never considered that it had an obligation to explain to the country, the criteria they followed to choose LTTE as the sole representatives of the Tamils. Up to date, until such time, they shown for them the exit gate out of Sri Lanka, they failed to come up with any explanations.

Unfortunately, it was the Tamil National Allianceled by the remote-controlled leader R.Sampanthan - the only political party that felt and cried over the Norway’s letdown very seriously.

Furthermore, it was like comical opera when the TNA met to lament over the departure of the Norwegians and in their elegy said "The TNA urges the President to take appropriate steps to ensure that the situation of a lack of clarity and uncertainty is ended by restoring the status quo ante."

In conclusion, Norway’s sudden decision to withdraw from the peace process is highly regrettable.

Whenever there is no clarity in the political situation of a country only leaders of that country invite a third party for facilitation of peace and harmony in that said country.

Bearing this reality-check in mind, even if the crisis threatens and looms larger regarding the facilitation of the ensuing Peace process, Norway should had remained to continue with the process one way or other, instead of going back home and waiting for the symptoms of clarity to emerge for them to return and mend fences.

A childish approach, and there is no other words for describing the Norwegians’ decision.

Asian Tribune