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Norwegian Ambassador summoned

[Hindu, Saturday, 21 May 2011 07:56 No Comment]

The Sri Lankan foreign office summoned the Norwegian Ambassador in Colombo early this week, and expressed concern over the conduct of some diplomats of the mission during the end-stages of the war with the LTTE.

“We can confirm that a meeting took place May 16th between [Foreign] Secretary [Karunathilake] Amunugama and Ambassador [Hilde] Haraldstad,” said Jon Brødholt, Deputy Chief of Mission, Norwegian Embassy, Colombo, in response to an e-mail enquiry from The Hindu.

“In the meeting, the Secretary expressed concern over a story originating in the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten where it was stated that Norway had accepted refugees from Sri Lanka. The Norwegian Ambassador used the meeting to elaborate on Norway’s humanitarian tradition and Norwegian refugee policy. The Ambassador explained that all applications for asylum in Norway are processed in accordance with the UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees,” he added.

The Island newspaper, quoting “authoritative sources” on Friday, said that “Amunugama had expressed concern over the alleged involvement of Colombo-based Norwegian diplomatic staff in the clandestine operation. Ambassador Haraldstad was told that a statement attributed to former Norwegian peace envoy, Minister Erik Solheim, which endorsed the actions of the embassy staff wasn’t acceptable.”

The newspaper added: “The External Affairs Ministry said that further investigations would shed light on the Norwegian operation… A senior government source alleged that the latest incident would be detrimental to an ongoing initiative to enhance bilateral relations.”

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