“The Leader of LTTE Prabhakaran and Intelligence Head Pottu Amman declined the Surrender Plan put forth together by the western countries and India. This has also become the reason for the death of those who came with white flags,” said the Former Peace Ambassador of Norway for Sri Lanka Eric Solheim. The other key speaker at the event was former Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister and incumbent Minister for Europe, Vidar Helgesen.
There was revealed during an event held at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy on Wednesday 29 October to launch the book ‘To End a Civil War’ which tells the story of attempts to bring peace to Sri Lanka. It details how a faraway European nation — Norway — came to play a central role in efforts to end the conflict, the peace attempts of Norway to bring the internal war to an end and what its small, dedicated team of mediators did in their untiring efforts to reach what ultimately proved the elusive goal of a negotiated peace.
Beginning with a ceasefire agreement in early 2002, for almost five years a series of peace talks between the two sides, facilitated by Norway, took place in locations ranging from Thailand and Japan to Norway, Germany and Switzerland.
Participating at this event, the former Norway Ambassador said, there was a peace plan put forth by the countries including USA, Norway, European Union, Japan and India for making LTTE to surrender during the last phases of the war held in Vanni. As per this plan, the request urged the top leaders of LTTE to surrender.
Moreover there were also arrangements made to board those who surrender in the Red Cross Shipping Vessel. But the top leaders of LTTE such as Prabhakaran and Pottu Amman had not given positive reply to this. It was because of this, that they were subjected to be killed when they come with white flags to surrender, said Eric Solheim. He recounted that except for Anton Balasingham, nobody else within the LTTE had international exposure.
He said the peace process broke down due to bickering between the SLFP and UNP. When one side agreed to give a substantial offer to the Tamils, the other side always opposed it. They were fighting each other more than fighting the LTTE. He said based on intelligence at the time, India told them that neither the Sri Lanka government nor the LTTE could win the war and they would come back to the negotiating table at the end.