Press release | Date: 2010-01-29| No: 10/10
- I would like to congratulate President Rajapakse. Norway and Sri Lanka enjoy close and longstanding bilateral relations. We intend to continue our cooperation with the Government and people of Sri Lanka with a view to promoting lasting peace and development, Mr Solheim said.
Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim has congratulated President Mahinda Rajapakse on his re-election on 26 January.
“I would like to congratulate President Rajapakse. Norway and Sri Lanka enjoy close and longstanding bilateral relations. We intend to continue our cooperation with the Government and people of Sri Lanka with a view to promoting lasting peace and development,” Mr Solheim said.
“We note that the election itself was relatively peaceful. However, we are concerned by reports of unrest and violent incidents during the lead-up to the election, as well as of possible violations of the election law. We urge that these allegations be investigated in accordance with Sri Lankan law and the country’s democratic traditions,” Mr Solheim said.
Mr Solheim pointed out that the clear result of yesterday’s election gives President Rajapakse a historic opportunity to lay the foundation for lasting peace in the war-torn country.
“To achieve sustainable peace in Sri Lanka, a political solution must be found that safeguards the rights of all the country’s minority groups, including the Tamils. I hope President Rajapakse will give priority to finding a political solution that is acceptable to all groups,” Mr Solheim said.
Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg has sent a letter of congratulations to President Rajapakse.
Norway was a facilitator in the peace process in Sri Lanka until 2006, when it became clear that the parties to the conflict had chosen war over a negotiated solution. Since the end of the hostilities, Norway has not had a specific role, but has continued to work for a political solution in Sri Lanka, together with other countries and organisations.
In 2009, Norway was one of the major providers of humanitarian aid to the country. The funding of NOK 94 million (USD 16 million) went primarily to assisting the internally displaced in the north and east of the country.
Press contact: Information adviser Wera Helstrøm, mobile phone: 994 09 323.