Ranil meets Norwegian head of joint ‘peace evaluation’ team and Solheim
Will LLRC call Ranil W to assist in inquiry

By Shamindra Ferdinando

UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has met Dr. Gunnar Sorbo, head of the Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI), hired by the Norwegian government to evaluate the Norwegian-led peace efforts in Sri Lanka from 1997 to 2009, with the focus on the disastrous 2002 Ceasefire Agreement.

The UNP yesterday confirmed Wickremesinghe’s meeting with Sorbo, formerly a trustee or member of several boards, including the Norwegian Agency for International Development.

The CMI based in Norway and the School of Oriental and African Studies recently won a Norwegian government contract to evaluate their peace building action in Sri Lanka.

The meeting in Oslo took place close on the heels of a UN advisory panel calling for written submissions regarding alleged war crimes committed during eelam war IV.

Sources told The Island that Wickremesinghe had discussed political and post-LTTE issues, including resettlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction issues with former Chief Negotiator and International Development Minister Erik Solheim on Oct. 22.  He also met Ine Marie Eriksen, a member of the Conservative Party and Chairperson of the 18-member Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence. Wickremesinghe had an opportunity to meet former Norwegian Premier Kjell Magne Bondevik.

Sources said that the evaluating team would seek the opinion of the Sri Lankan government shortly.

A senior Defence official told The Island that everything would depend on what the peace evaluating team wanted to know and its objectives. Responding to a query, another official said that the Norwegians and the Wickremesinghe’s government as well as the Co Chairs to the Peace Process had allowed the CFA to collapse by bending over backwards to appease the LTTE.

Wickremesinghe will visit Brussels before returning to Colombo on Oct. 27.

The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) headed by former Attorney General C. R. de Silva investigating the failed Norwegian peace process is yet to call Wickremesinghe or members of his negotiating team, led by Prof. G. L. Peiris, to ascertain the circumstances in which the CFA came into operation in February 2002.

The LLRC sittings began in the second week in August and is expected to complete the inquiry in six months.

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