By a Special Correspondent
The leader of the Patriotic National Movement (PNM) Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera says that the onus is on the government to hold an inquiry and ascertain the truth regarding the alleged political asylum provided by the Norwegian Embassy to 12 suspected LTTE cadres.13-1
The veteran political analyst said that the alleged incident has not come as a total surprise considering how closely Norway had maintained links with the LTTE during the height of the North-East conflict.
Norway’s stance no secret
“This incident does not surprise me in the least”, he told LAKBIMAnEWS.
“We know as to how closely Norway was associated with the LTTE during the height of the war. In fact, in my book, the Norwegian Embassy was basically the LTTE’s office in Colombo during the humanitarian operations, and what can one expect from such a place than pandering to the LTTE’s wishes? They also operated as the so-called peace talk facilitator, and while functioning in these different capacities this is how they have allegedly strived to provide political asylum to the LTTE cadres.”
Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera charged that Norway was even close to providing political asylum to the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabakaran — and in such a context it was not strange that they (Norway) had allegedly resorted to providing asylum to LTTE cadres in that country.
“It goes without saying that Norway was close to the point of whisking the LTTE leader away during the last stage of the North-East war,” observed Dr. Amarasekera. “But, due to some great meritorious deed done by this country in the past, and for the sake of the over 20 million people here, Norway failed to come to the rescue of Prabakaran during his time of need. The rest as they say is history, and the security forces managed to capture the LTTE leader and wipe out the LTTE from the face of this land. If Norway was on the brink of whisking Prabakaran away, providing political asylum to 12 LTTE cadres in that country is not unduly surprising, but it is an issue that the government needs to be concerned about.”
Govt. should be cautious
Asked whether it was incumbent on the government to hold an investigation and get to the bottom of the story he said that it would be prudent to do so from the perspective of Sri Lanka’s law. “What has been done is history now, and I don’t think Norway can wash their hands off from it no matter how hard they will try to do so. It is important that the government orders an immediate full-scale inquiry into this alleged incident to prevent a similar incident occuring in the future.”
The PNM leader also cautioned Colombo to think twice in its dealings with Oslo in the aftermath of the revelation that the latter had allegedly facilitated some LTTE cadres to seek political asylum there.
“I don’t think it is wise to suspend all political dealings with Norway over this incident,” Dr. Amarasekera said. “In the current global political scenario, it will be tough to cease dealings with another country from several standpoints. However, by the same token, what this incident brings to light is the necessity to understand as to what the true agenda of Oslo is, and act accordingly. It is also heartening to note that the government has ordered an investigation into the incident before making an official statement on it.”
A recent report published in the Norwegian newspaper Aften Posten stated that Norwegian Embassy personnel in Colombo had allegedly secretly aided Tamil rebels get out of Sri Lanka and had provided political asylum in Norway suich cadres for years.
Norwegian embassy denies
The Norwegian Embassy in Colombo replying to the alleged incident also made some comment last week.
“Applications for asylum seekers in Norway are subject to strict laws. The cases are carefully examined to see if they qualify under the United Nations Convention (UNC) relating to the Status of Refugees. It is incorrect to infer that the Norwegian Embassy in Colombo has secretly helped 12 LTTE cadres out of the country as reported by the Sri Lanka media. The Norwegian Embassy has assisted a limited number of people by processing their applications for asylum in Norway. This has been done in accordance with International and Norwegian law, as well as with specific regulations from the Norwegian Ministry of Justice. For this alleged group of people, the Embassy has not purchased tickets nor has any diplomatic staff escorted them to the airport. To the best of our knowledge, the Embassy did not assist any LTTE-cadres.”