Erik Solheim has discussed planned assassinations and attacks on him during his visit to Sri Lanka in May 2000, with Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten.
He confirmed with Aftenposten that intelligence police had briefed him about assassination plans, with the tip coming from Norwegians with access to information on radical groups in Sri Lanka.
Solheim told the newspaper,
“We assumed that the threat came from Sinhalese extremists.”
“We were at different times made aware of the threats, and also had access to highly classified information on the situation in Sri Lanka.”
“Throughout the whole time in Sri Lanka we were aware that we were vulnerable. Sri Lanka is probably the only place where we are vulnerable precisely because we are Norwegians.”
At 9pm on 24th May 2000, the day of Solheim’s departure from Sri Lanka, unknown assailants threw an explosive at the Norwegian Embassy in Colombo. The object passed over the roof of the embassy and exploded in a neighbouring garden of an uninhabited house.
Solheim claimed he was unsure whether he was the target of the action saying,
“It may have been [for me], it is impossible for me to know. I perceived it as a warning to Norway.”
On 17th November in the same year, Sinhalese nationalists burnt an effigy of Solheim outside the embassy.
Solheim went on to add,
“Tamils do not have equal rights,”
“That question is still unsolved and if unresolved, the conflict will break out again in new forms in the future.”