SL airforce airlifts Solheim direct to Vanni
President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge has directed the Sri Lankan air force late Tuesday to provide flight facilities for Norwegian special peace envoy up to LTTE held Kilinochchi.
Talking to BBC Sandeshaya Erik Solheim confirmed that he would be flown by a government helicopter up to the rebel held area.
Earlier the Sri Lanka Air Force has decided that peace envoy will be only flown up to the farthest government controlled areas, and then will have to drive on.
Sri Lanka Military spokesman earlier told the BBC Sinhala Service that the Ministry of Defence has taken a decision to airlift Norwegian facilitators, cease fire monitors (SLMM) and senior LTTE cadres only up to northern air bases in government controlled territory.
The spokesman, Brigadier Daya Ratnayake said that the decision to stop SL Air force helicopters airlifting to rebel held Kilinochchi was taken due to "security reasons".
He said that the LTTE not taking responsibility for several attacks against the SL Army prompted the decision.
Although a change has been made in the decision not to fly Solheim to Kilinochchi the government has not made any change so far on providing flight facilities to the SLMM and LTTE.
Erik Solheim who arrived in Sri Lanka in a bid to revive the stalled peace talks met head of Sri Lankan peace secretariat Jayantha Dhanapala, truce monitors and foreign donors on Tuesday before leaving to rebel held Vanni to meet Tiger leaders on Wednesday.