updated 12/5/2005 2:16:55 AM ET 2005-12-05T07:16:55

Norwegian envoy Eric Solheim met with a top Indian foreign ministry official on Friday and discussed peace prospects in Sri Lanka following the election of hard-liner Mahinda Rajapakse as president, an Indian official said.

"We both agreed that it is very important that the cease-fire should be maintained and strengthened and that there should not be any relapse into violence in Sri Lanka," India's Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran said after meeting Solheim.

"We should facilitate and promote the peace process," he said.

The Norwegian-brokered cease-fire in 2002 halted the civil war in Sri Lanka, though sporadic violence continues to threaten the truce.

India also emphasized that the economic requirements of the troubled Tamil-dominated north and the east should be met through international efforts, Saran said.

Solheim, who has been trying to end the civil conflict in Sri Lanka since 1990s, visited the Indian capital a day after the new Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera met with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Peace talks have been stalled between the government and the Tamil Tigers since April 2003 when rebels demanded boosted authority over Tamil-dominated areas of Sri Lanka in the north and the east.

The rebels launched a separatist war in 1983, accusing the country's Sinhalese majority of discrimination against Tamils. Fighting has killed about 65,000 people.

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