Colombo's transport refusal to Eastern LTTE commanders jeopardise Geneva preparations
[TamilNet, Friday, 07 April 2006, 16:03 GMT]
Liberation Tigers Political Head S.P. Thamilchelvan Friday requested the Norwegian facilitators to arrange sea transport, with truce monitors on board, to facilitate Eastern field commanders of the LTTE to attend a preparatory central committee meeting before the next session of the Geneva Talks. Blaming Colombo for adopting a hardline stance in providing air transport, a routine arrangement facilitated by the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) during the ceasefire, the LTTE Political Head warned that the Tigers would be forced to adopt their own sea transport, aware of the risks involving possible confrontations with the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN).
Political Head of the LTTE S. P. Thamilchelvan
"As facilitator to the peace process, Norway, we trust, would bear testimony to the commitment of the LTTE to the CFA and by extension to the peace process at large and that the GoSL as the other party is acting in bad faith adopting very rigid positions," Mr. Thamilchelvan writes in his urgent letter to the Norwegian Ambassador Hans Brattskar. "It is our bounden duty by the international community to bring out these facts in view of its overwhelming support extended to the peace process."
"LTTE leadership’s meeting with the field commanders is an absolute necessity to maintain the integrity of the Cease Fire Agreement," LTTE Political Head further said in his letter to the Norwegian Ambassador.
Full text of the letter follows:
"This urgent communication is being addressed to you in the context of Sri Lanka Government’s adamant refusal to arrange air transport to our commanders in the East (Batticaloa and Trincomalee) to attend the crucial central committee meeting prior to our delegation attending the Geneva talks as scheduled.
"As pointed out by us in our meeting with you and the special envoy on 5 April 2006, the air transport of our eastern commanders was a routine matter arranged by the SLMM during the cease-fire period since the leadership’s meeting with the field commanders is an absolute necessity to maintain the integrity of the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA). A routine that was arranged as a matter of course is now being subject to unnecessary delays and refusal at the last moment. As a preparatory measure for the central committee meeting prior to Geneva II, we furnished the travel requirement and necessary data first to the SLMM on 20 March 2006. In spite of many verbal requests to expedite the arrangements, we did not receive any response from the government except for SLMM’s statements that the matter has still not been approved. We forwarded another request on 5 April 2006 immediately after our discussion of this subject with you.
"We are now being told by the SLMM that the government refuses to provide air transport to our military commanders. As discussed with you the other day, we are now left with the alternative of making our own sea transport conscious of the risks that would ensue in any possible confrontations with the SL Navy that would put the CFA into grave risk. Please understand that we have to resort to our own sea transport only because of inevitable circumstances created by the adamant attitude of the government. As a viable alternative, we suggest that arrangements be made for sea transport with SLMM monitors on board as early as possible.
"Also of serious concern to us is the hard line attitude of the SL military, according to the report of the SLMM, in laying multifarious unacceptable conditions in the matter of our unarmed political cadres entering military occupied ‘GOSL controlled’ areas. This hard line attitude runs contrary to the understanding reached in Geneva and prevents our members’ interaction with the people towards building confidence.
"Please prioritise these issues and discuss matters further with the government in the context of the volatile nature of the situation and advise us without delay of the outcome of your discussions. As facilitator to the peace process, Norway, we trust, would bear testimony to the commitment of the LTTE to the CFA and by extension to the peace process at large and that the GoSL as the other party is acting in bad faith adopting very rigid positions. It is our bounden duty by the international community to bring out these facts in view of its overwhelming support extended to the peace process."