Norway best venue for truce talks - LTTE
[TamilNet, Saturday, 17 December 2005, 09:57 GMT]
Reiterating that they wished to engage in talks on the effective implementation of the February 2002 Cease Fire Agreement with Sri Lanka, the Liberation Tigers suggested Saturday that Norway would be the ideal venue to host such talks as Oslo was not only the facilitator of the peace process, but leading the monitoring mission supervising the truce. “Based on a mutual consent, a suitable venue for peace negotiations could be selected following the successful conclusion of the CFA talks,” he said pointing out that Norway has earlier extended invitation to the parties to hold talks on the implementation of the CFA.
“We are ready and willing to discuss the gaps in implementation of the CFA,” the head of the LTTE’s Political Wing, Mr. S. P. Thamilchelvan said, speaking to reporters at the LTTE Peace Secretariat in Kilinochchi.
“As the peace process is being facilitated and monitored by [them], Norway would be the best fit venue,” he said, adding this had been the LTTE’s consistent position.
Mr. Thamilchelvan said venues for further talks on other matters could be decided when it was appropriate to do so.
Commenting on Sri Lanka’s offer last week that the Colombo government was prepared for talks in an Asian country, Mr. Thamilchelvan said Sri Lanka was seeking to isolate the LTTE from contacts with Western countries.
“Issues such as venues, as in all modalities of the peace process, must be decided by mutual consent,” Mr. Thamilchelvan said.
Sri Lanka was pursing an agenda of preventing the LTTE from having contact with many foreign governments supportive of the peace process and being able to put their case to them, he said.
He criticised the Sri Lankan government for not permitting Japan’s Special Envoy, Yasushi Akashi, to visit Kilinochchi and meet with the LTTE, even though Tokyo had expressed its readiness to host talks.
The attack Wednesday on a Sri Lanka Air Force helicopter enroute to transport a senior Italian diplomat was stage managed to spoil relations between Italy and the LTTE, Mr. Thamilchelvan said.
A SLAF helicopter on its way to pick up Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Margherita Boniver from Arumugam Bay in Amparai district was hit by two bullets Wednesday.
In the wake of the Indian Ocean tsunami, Italy was one of the first countries to rush desperately needed aid to the Tamil people in Vanni, Mr. Thamilchelvan said. Italy had also been strongly supportive of the peace process in Sri Lanka, he said.
“Elements in Sri Lanka’s armed forces intent on alienating the LTTE from the Italian government have stage managed this incident,” he said, pointing out that the Colombo government had deliberately blown the incident into a major issue in which the LTTE was held responsible.