Norway’s foreign minister will visit Sri Lanka this week in a bid to re-establish political contact, his office said Tuesday, almost 10 years after Oslo failed in a bid to mediate in the island’s civil war.

Borge Brende’s visit, which begins Thursday, will be the first by a Norwegian minister to Sri Lanka since 2006, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

“The aim of the visit to Colombo is to re-establish political contact with Sri Lanka,” Brende said, adding: “The recent political developments in the country in the past year have made this possible.”

In the early 2000s, Norway mediated between the Sri Lankan government and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), but a 2002 ceasefire didn’t last.

Authoritarian president Mahinda Rajapakse, who was in power from 2005 to 2015, had questioned Norway’s neutrality and quashed the guerrilla in 2009 during a major military offensive that brought an end to 37 years of fighting.

Rajapakse last year failed to win a third term and handed over power to Maithripala Sirisena, who has vowed to work toward reconciliation and investigate crimes committed by the army during the military campaign run by his predecessor.

During his visit, Brende is scheduled to meet with Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and the new opposition leader, Tamil lawmaker Rajavarothiam Sampanthan. (AFP)

  • Noor Nizam – Canada.

    Norway cannot forget some of the humble and dedicated Sri
    Lankan politicians in the past who really played a sincere and honest role in
    building friendly, personal, diplomatic and bilateral relations with the
    Kingdom of Norway, beginning 1969. They are the late Hon. Felix Dias Bandaranaike,
    MP for Dompe, late Hon. Naina Marikkar, MP for Puttlum, late Hon. Madam Sirimavo R.D. Bandaranaike ,
    MP for Attanagalle, late Hon. M.E.H.Maharoof, MP for Mutur, late Hon. A.C.S.
    Hameed, MP for Akurana and the late Hon. Ananda Tissa De Alwis, MP for Kotte. I
    hope the visiting Norwegian Foreign Minister will not forget to pay tribute to
    these great Sri Lankan politicians in his meetings with HE. President
    Maihtripala Sirisena and Hon. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. The President and the PM have to be reminded of this by the visiting Norwegian FM. It is a pity that the
    friendlier relations that reached the peak in 1976 when the late Madam Sirimavo
    R.D. Bandaranaike, then PM and Chairperson of the Non-Aligned-Nations Movement
    visited Oslo, Norway during the 1st., week of February 1976, and
    also was given the esteemed and honourable privilege to address the “Stortingt”
    The Norwegian Parliament in the government of Norwegian PM Odvar Nordli, during
    that short visit, was high jacked by unscrupulous political characters, both
    Norwegians and Sri Lankans in between 1978 and 1979, and was redirected towards creating some of the unpleasant political experiences Sri Lanka had to face till 2002.
    Norway decided to include Sri Lanka as an aid receiving partner, along with
    Guinea – Bissau in 1976 after the late Hon. Madam Sirimavo R.D.Bandaranaike
    addressed the “Stortingt” The Norwegian Parliament. The first allocation of aid
    assistance to Sri Lanka was Norwegian Kroners 10 million. Guinea – Bissau also
    received an equal amount of Norwegian Kroners 10 million. Norwegian parliament
    makes such decisions only once in 5 years. Being involved in politics with the late Hon.
    Madam Sirimavo R.D.Bandaranaike since 1969 and as a NORAD-Fellow having studied in Norway from 1971 – 1977, I can vouch for the authenticity of these
    Noor Nizam. Political and Peace Activist and Political Communications Researcher & Former SLFP District Organizer – Trincomalee.