The head of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) yesterday welcomed the breakthrough reached by the Norwegian facilitators on the dates for the Geneva talks and expressed hopes that both the government and the LTTE would be able to iron out the crucial issues related to the ceasefire agreement.
SLMM head Hagrup Haukland said the Geneva meeting on February 22 and 23 was a positive development as there was a crucial need for both parties to have a dialogue.
?I sincerely hope both parties will have a good discussion on the implementation of the ceasefire agreement at the Geneva talks,? Mr. Haukland told the Daily Mirror. Mr. Haukland will also take part in the Geneva discussions which the government and the LTTE have said will
focus on the effective implementation of the ceasefire agreement and is not part of talks for a final solution.
The breakthrough on the dates for the talks was reached following a meeting between the LTTE chief negotiator Anton Balasingham and Norwegian Minister Erik Solhiem in London on Monday.
Former Norwegian deputy Foreign Minister Vidar Helgesen will also take part in the Geneva talks but an official at the Norwegian embassy in Colombo said Mr. Helgesen would be coming in because of his experience in Sri Lanka`s peace process and not as a special envoy.
The embassy official said Mr. Helgeson had been appointed as an envoy to another country and as such he was likely to be involved only in the Geneva talks.