Rajapakse will disarm Karuna if LTTE accepts direct peace deal- paper
[TamilNet, Sunday, 25 June 2006, 12:50 GMT]
Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse has intimated to the editor of Jaffna daily Uthayan, N. Vithyatharan, to exchange messages with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to strike a deal for starting direct talks with the LTTE, with the intention of bypassing the facilitation of Royal Government of Norway, a leading broadsheet in Colombo, Sunday Leader said in its latest edition. Mr Rajapakse had said that he will disarm Karuna Group if his proposed two week peace-deal is accepted by the LTTE, the paper said.
(Photo: Sunday Leader)
Uthayan officials confirmed the Tuesday meeting of Editor Vithyatharan with Mr Rajapakse. The officials added that the paper has communicated the message to
the political leadership in Kilinochchi and have obtained responses. The response will be passed to the President Monday, Uthayan officials added, but refused to disclose the contents of the response.
"If the LTTE and the government can agree to put an end to all violence for two weeks, they could make a fresh start and develop the rapport from thereon. We don't have to do it through Norway or be dependent on them, we can deal directly," the paper quoted Mr Rajapakse as saying to Mr Vithyatharan.
Rajapakse had further said he was in a strong position to meet any challenge but wanted to avoid bloodshed, hence the offer to the LTTE, the paper said.
LTTE should inform him at the earliest what they expect from the government's side in exchange for an agreement by the Tigers to stop all attacks for two weeks, the President told Mr Vithyatharan.
Said the President, "Tell the LTTE not to ask for the disarming of the Karuna group straight away and have them thrown on the road. Then the LTTE will kill them." Mr Rajapakse added that he will consider disarming paramilitary Karuna group after the initial two week "ceasefire" trial run is agreed to and enforced, the paper said.
The President further said he will ensure that during the two week period there will be no attacks by the Karuna group, the paper said.
"Your Excellency, I told Mr. Balasingham before coming for this meeting what you said on the phone about you being sandwiched between the army and the LTTE. He laughed and asked me to tell you that you are the army. That you cannot be caught in between because you are the Commander-in-Chief and the Defence Minister and your brother is the Defence Secretary," the paper quoted Vithyatharan as saying.
Mr Balasingham confirmed to TamilNet the veracity of the above exchange.
On 23 May during a visit to Kilinochchi of religious dignitories the LTTE Political Head, reiterated the LTTE stand, that all contacts with the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) would be maintained through the facilitator, the Norwegian Government, when the inter-religious group urged the LTTE to develop contacts with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse.
23.05.06 Brattskar meets Thamilchelvan in Kilinochchi