Norwegian peace envoy sought to downplay expectations before trip to Sri Lanka

Solheim, who negotiated Sri Lanka's 2002 government-rebel cease-fire, and special envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer planned to travel to the Indian Ocean island this week for urgent meetings aimed at salvaging the country's tattered cease-fire, the AP reports.

Solheim will meet Sri Lanka's president, Mahinda Rajapakse, in Colombo on Friday before going to New Delhi for talks with Indian officials about Sri Lanka, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry said. Hanssen-Bauer will meet representatives of the Tamil Tiger rebels on Saturday.

"The situation in Sri Lanka is difficult, and it is important not to have unrealistic expectations on this visit," Solheim said in a statement.

The Norwegian envoys hope talks with government and rebel leaders will bring them back to peace talks, which have stalled amid rising violence and recriminations between the sides.

Solheim said the trip was important, coming before a May 30 visit of the so-called "co-chairs" of the peace process - The European Union, Japan, the U.S. and Norway.