"Excessive SLN interference in total contradiction to SLMM arrangement" - LTTE

[TamilNet, Saturday, 15 April 2006, 08:27 GMT]
Sri Lanka Navy imposed two new "rules" when the LTTE Commanders were preparing to board the civilian ferry facilitated by the SLMM, LTTE Political Head S.P.Thamilchelvan writes in an urgent letter to Major General Ulf Henricsson, Head of the scandinavian truce monitors Saturday. The "excessive interference" by the Sri Lankan Navy in the sea transport of LTTE commanders, was in total contradiction to the prior agreement with Maj. Gen. Ulf Henricsson, Mr. Thamilchelvan writes in his letter. The sea travel of the LTTE Commanders scheduled on Saturday was cancelled at the last moment in Mullaithivu.

The incidents at the Mullaitivu sea has clearly demonstrated the "duplicitous position" of the GoSL of showing on one hand that they are ready to come to the peace talks and on the other hand acting against the CFA agreement and taking all possible actions to stop the LTTE from attending the Geneva talks, Mr. Thamilchelvan writes in his letter to the Head of Mission.

The first new "rule" SLN attempted impose was that the LTTE Commanders should not reach the ferry using their own vessel but a civilian boat must be arranged to go up to the ferry.

The other rule was that the ferry arranged by the SLMM was to be treated as an LTTE vessel and the Sri Lankan Navy must escort it, the SLN had informed the SLMM at the Mullaithivu shore, the letter said.

When the LTTE members got on board, Sri Lankan Navy contacted the captain of the ferry arranged by SLMM more than 20 times when the ferry was waiting for the commanders to come on board. As there was a slight delay in the arrival of our commanders the Sri Lankan Navy again hurried the ferry captain to move without the commanders, the letter said.

Full text of LTTE Political Head's urgent letter sent to the Head of Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission follows:

"Subject: Sea Transport of LTTE commanders

"We write to bring to your immediate attention the events that have taken place today, 15 April 2006, at the Mullaitivu shores, as our commanders were readying for their sea journey. These events were in total contradiction to the agreement between SLMM and us as set out in our letter to you dated 13 April 2006.

"We have repeatedly brought to your attention and to the attention of the Norwegian Ambassador and the Norwegian Special Envoy the following. That is the importance of a meeting of the central committee of our leadership. In order to hold such a meeting its members need to travel from the east to Kilinochchi.

"You are also well aware that the GoSL dragged its feet for one month without giving favourable replies for the transport of our commanders. You are also aware that this attitude of the GoSL created a difficult situation for our leadership.

"It is in this state of affairs that you came forward, to make immediate arrangements on your own, to transport our commanders without the involvement of the Sri Lankan Navy. You also agreed that our commanders will travel from shore in our own vessel up to the ferry arranged by the SLMM and then the commanders will travel in the vessel arranged by SLMM without any presence or interference of the Sri Lankan Navy. You also gave us your word that at the destination end a similar procedure will be followed.

"Our commanders came to the Mullaitivu shore ready to take up the journey trusting your promises. When we arrived we were informed of two new rules. These are, 1) we cannot go up to the SLMM arranged ferry using our own vessel but a civilian boat must be arranged to go up to the SLMM arrangement ferry; 2) the SLMM arranged ferry must be treated as an LTTE vessel and therefore the Sri Lankan Navy must escort it.

"We also noticed four Sri Lankan Navy vessels parked close to the ferry arranged by SLMM. LTTE members who had boarded the SLMM arranged ferry prior to the boarding of our commanders also noticed that the captain of the SLMM arranged ferry was taking instructions from the Sri Lankan Navy about every move that the ferry was taking. Sri Lankan Navy contacted the captain of the ferry arranged by SLMM more than 20 times during this time when the ferry was waiting for the commanders to come on board. As there was a slight delay in the arrival of our commanders the Sri Lankan Navy again hurried the ferry captain to move without the commanders.

"These excessive interference by the Sri Lankan Navy in the sea transport of our commanders, in total contradiction to the prior agreement with you, have made us loose faith in the promises made by SLMM. It has also brought to the open the anti-peace-talks stance of the GoSL and the Sri Lankan military.

"These have angered and disappointed our leadership and at the same time made it impossible for our leadership to meet and discuss issues prior to the Genevat talks.

"The incidents at the Mullaitivu sea has clearly demonstrated the duplicitous position of the GoSL of showing on one hand that they are ready to come to the peace talks and on the other hand acting against the CFA agreement and taking all possible actions to stop the LTTE from attending the Geneva talks.

"We strongly suspect that the latest act of GoSL is aimed at worsening the situation by rejecting the good will measures already in existence since the signing of the CFA and acting against the CFA.

"We wish to emphasize that today’s incident has put into question our decision and subsequent efforts to go to Geneva and that the actions of the GoSL and Sri Lankan military is the reason for this unfortunate situation."

 

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