With President Maithripala Sirisena at the helm in Sri Lanka, this is the best opportunity to bring about a lasting solution to the country’s ethnic question, Norway’s former special peace envoy Erik Solheim said, according to The Hindu newspaper.
Participating in a panel discussion on the newly-launched book To End a Civil War: Norway’s Peace Engagement in Sri Lanka , Mr. Solheim, who played a key role in the peace treaty signed between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE in 2002, said there were two main obstacles to reconciliation in the island.
“The two main Sinhala parties — United National Party and Sri Lanka Freedom Party — were never able to work together. When one thought about making a move forward, there was always the apprehension of the other using it as a political tool to gain ground,” he said.
The second was the reliance of V. Prabhakaran, the LTTE chief, on violence. “He genuinely believed that there were military solutions to the political problems. This was political stupidity,” Solheim said and added that the Norwegian peace delegation made it clear time and again to Prabhakaran that killings should stop if he had any hope of proscriptions in different countries being lifted, the Hindu reports.