The JVP has turned down an invitation to join President Mahinda Rajapakse`s forthcoming state visit to New Delhi.
The Sunday Island learns that Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera has formally invited the Marxist party to join the delegation as the President was keen to accommodate senior representatives of political parties which backed him.
The President is scheduled to begin his four-day visit on December 27.
The JVP said that it declined the invitation as the party was not in government although it played an integral part in Rajapakse`s victory at the recently concluded presidential polls.
The government has requested JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe, parliamentary group leader Wimal Weerawansa and another to join Rajapakse`s first overseas visit since the November 17 polls.
A party spokesperson pointed out that the party did not accept Cabinet portfolios as it did not wish to join the government. The JVP quit the UPFA in June over disagreement with the then President Chandrika Kumaratunga`s decision to sign a tsunami aid sharing agreement with the LTTE. Rajapakse depends heavily on the support of the JVP`s 39-member parliamentary group.
Rajapakse is scheduled to meet the Indian President, Vice President, Prime Minister and several other senior politicians.
Government and diplomatic sources said that the entire gamut of Indo-Lanka relations would be on the agenda with the focus on the peace process. The sources said that Rajapakse was expected to invite India to play an enhanced role in the peace process.
The visit to New Delhi comes in the backdrop of the government calling for `a more professional and broad-based approach` to the peace process `as opposed to the personalised approach of the past.`
Pryan Herath, Co-ordinating Secretary to Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said that talks with Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store in Hong Kong focused on evolving a fresh approach by the two new governments to carry forward the peace process including modalities to resume talks at the earliest.
`To this end a new Norwegian team and a Special Envoy will be appointed shortly, subsequent to the proposed visit by Development Minister Erik Solheim to Sri Lanka,` he said.
The Sunday Island learns that there was no likelihood of talks on the strengthening of the implementation and effective monitoring of the ceasefire taking place this year.
Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga urged the previous Norwegian government to arrange an immediate meeting with the LTTE and the military to discuss the CFA after the assassination of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar last August. But no meeting has taken place up to now.