2ND LEAD (Adds details)

Tigers request diplomatic travel arrangements for Oslo meet

[TamilNet, Thursday, 01 June 2006, 11:27 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers (LTTE) have agreed, in principle, to participate in discussions in Oslo this month with the Norwegian facilitator responsible for coordinating and facilitating the Scandinavian truce monitoring mission, the SLMM. "The timely participation is dependent on travel arrangements with diplomatic privileges being made available to the LTTE delegation through Sri Lanka's territory," LTTE Political Head told media in Kilinochchi Thursday.


"The proposed Oslo meeting is not another round of peace talks but an event in which the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) representatives will convey its leadership's decisions and stand taken in the context of the EU ban, to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLM) and the facilitators," said S. P. Tamilchelvan Political head of LTTE Thursday to the press, following his meeting with Maj. Gen. Ulf Henricsson the Head of SLMM, which lasted for an hour from 10.30 to 11.30 a.m in the Tamil Eelam Political Wing Office in Kilinochchi.

The Tigers have specifically requested the facilitator to make VIP travel arrangement with diplomatic privileges through Sri Lanka Government controlled territory, and the participation of the LTTE delegation depends upon acceptable travel arrangement that ensures security and avoids harassment of LTTE delegation by Sri Lanka authorities, Thamilchelvan said.

Asked about how the LTTE Political Head viewed the engagement of Tigers in future talks in the post-EU-ban scenario, the Tiger Political Head said that any future progress would be closely tied to the practical steps taken by International Community towards the pressuring Government of Sri Lanka to comply with the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA).

"We have seen the statements with strong warnings to the Sri Lanka Government, but the progress is entirely dependent on the practical steps the International Community is willling to take towards the Sri Lankan Government," Mr. Thamilchelvan said.

"International Community should now ensure compliance of Sri Lankan Government to the CFA. Bringing immediate stop to extra-judicial killings, disarming the paramilitary groups, restoring normalcy, and implementing agreed measures in Geneva-I talks are now dependent on these practical steps," LTTE's Political Head said.

Asked about the role of EU representatives in the SLMM after the EU ban on LTTE which may affect SLMM's neutrality, the Political Head said, "Of course it would. The protagonists in the peace negotiations should participate as equal partners. Attempts at a biased handling of the parties to the conflict will not be accepted by the Tamils. Our leadership will examine this issue seriously and make its decision public in a few days."

Maj. Gen. Ulf Henricsson attended the discussions in Vanni after concluding a 3-day familiarisation visit to LTTE controlled areas and visiting the key institutions of LTTE's administrative structure.


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