3rd Lead (Adds background)
LTTE issues 2 weeks ultimatum for ensuring travel safety
[TamilNet, Thursday, 30 June 2005, 09:05 GMT]
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Thursday in a crucial meeting with members of Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) demanded that the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) should provide a clear response on procedures to ensure safety of travel for LTTE cadres in the east. Head of LTTE Political Wing told Scandinavian delegation that Tigers will resume their own armed escort if the GoSL fails to provide satisfactory response within two weeks, sources from Vanni said.
The announcement follows the landmine attack in
Welikande on the LTTE convoy escorted by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and facilitated by the truce monitors.
"If LTTE decides to use its own armed escort, the CFA will likely collapse, and LTTE should not be held responsible for breaking the ceasefire," Thamilchelvan told the delegation.
When contacted by TamilNet, Mr S Puleedevan, Director of Peace Secretarait confirmed that the message was given to Head of Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission Mr Hagrup Haukland when the latter met LTTEs Political Head in LTTEs Peace Secretariat Thursday morning at 10.00 AM.
"In terms of the provisions in the CFA relating to the transport of LTTE members through military controlled areas and more so according to the explicit understanding reached in a meeting with the SLMM and the Norwegian Ambassador, the SLA should have provided full security and safety to our members, but what has happened at Welikanda on 26 June 2005, gives us serious concern over the genuineness of the SriLankan Government’s commitment to the CFA," said Mr.S.P.Thamilchelvan in a meeting with the SLMM and the Norwegian embassy officials, according to LTTE's Peace Secretariat website.
|Mr S P Thamilchelvan, LTTE's Political Head (Library Photo)|
Thamilchelvan told the delegation that the date and time of travel of the LTTE convoy was only made known to the members of the SLMM and through the SLMM to the Sri Lanka Army (SLA). "The miltary intelligence obtained the information from the SLA and has planned this attack. Further, none of the members of the Security forces were travelling on the bus," Thamilchelvan said.
"For the Kausalyan killing, Sri Lanka Government blamed the LTTE for not informing the Security Forces to provide armed escort. And now our seeking escort from the Security Forces has endangered the lives of 40 of our cadres," Thamilchelvan further told the delegation.
If LTTE decides to resume its own armed escort, it will also be forced to curtail movements of Sri Lanka Armed forces in areas that are critical to LTTE troop movement, Thamilchelvan told the delegation, according to sources in Kilinochchi.
Acting Norwegian Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Mr Oddvar Lægreid and three other Norwegian officials were present in a two hour meeting with the LTTE officials, sources in Kilinochchi said.
Political observers in Kilinochchi noted the ominous sign of the ultimatum and compared this with a similar deadline LTTE gave before terminating talks in March 1995. LTTE was then blamed for breaking the truce even after giving a three week warning followed by a two week extension when the agreement called for only 72 hours notice.
LTTE Political Head this time has reiterated in clear terms that LTTE should not be blamed for breaking the CFA, observers noted.
26.06.05 SLA escorted convoy with LTTE officials ambushed
07.06.05 Colombo's transport refusal endangers CFA- Thamilchelvan
08.02.05 Kousalyan killing serious setback to relief efforts, peace p..