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Norway 'cautiously optimistic' of refreshed Lanka-LTTE talks

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, Oct 4, IRNA
Sri Lanka-Norway-LTTE
Visiting Norwegian peace envoy, Jon Hanssen -Bauer, who held discussions with both the government of Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tiger rebels during the past couple of days, on Wednesday expressed 'cautious optimism' on the early resumption of direct talks between the two warring parties in the island nation.

The Norwegian envoy made these remarks when he met leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), Rauf Hakeem here on Wednesday.

"Hanssen-Bauer in his own words expressed 'cautious optimism' regarding peace talks resumption. But he left it for the parties to take the final decision," Hakeem told reporters after an hour-long meeting with the envoy.

Claiming that a decision on the resumption of talks could be expected within a couple of days, the key Muslim party leader said the Norwegian envoy did not want to make an announcement until he receives definite assurance from both the sides about the dates and the method of meeting, including the venue.

He particularly mentioned that a cessation of hostilities well ahead of the peace talks resumption and that being sustained is a very crucial element for the peace talks to ultimately succeed, Hakeem added.

Bauer, who arrived here last Sunday, is busy in shuttle diplomacy between the parties in his struggle to bring them to the negotiating table.

Although both the government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE have claimed that they are committed for 'unconditional talks', they are yet to announce whether they have in fact agreed for talks unconditionally or otherwise.

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