Sri Lanka says "talks offer" as fighting continues

[TamilNet, Sunday, 13 August 2006, 08:11 GMT]
As heavy fighting continued between the Liberation Tigers and Sri Lanka’s military in the northern Jaffna peninsula, the government in Colombo claimed Sunday to have received on Friday an offer of talks from the LTTE and that it was accepting it. The government announcement came as press reports said the military’s air bridge to the Jaffna peninsula had been cut as the Palaly airbase continued to remain under LTTE artillery fire. The sea lines to Jaffna were also being disrupted by LTTE shelling of Trincomalee port.

The head of the government's peace secretariat, Palitha Kohona, told reporters in Colombo an offer of talks from the LTTE was received through truce monitors on Friday - the same day that heavy fighting broke out in the Jaffna peninsula.

LTTE political officials could not be contacted Sunday for comment.

However, peace-related communication between both sides have in the past been communicated only through the Norwegian government.

Norwegian Special Envoy Jon Hansen-Bauer, who had spent a week in Sri Lanka, only left the island this Friday, the day the government says the LTTE offer was communicated.

Mr. Hanssen-Bauer arrived the previous Friday on what was described by diplomats as a fact-finding visit, but coincided with a serious escalation of a standoff between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE over a blocked sluice gate at Maavil Aru.

Violence erupted when the SLA escalated a ground offensive against LTTE. A deal brokered by Mr. Hanssen-Bauer fell apart last Sunday when the international monitors enroute to open the Maavilaru sluice gate were targeted by intense SLA artillery fire.

Mr. Kohona’s announcement comes a day after his deputy, Ketheshwaran Loganathan, was shot dead in Colombo. Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse has blamed the LTTE for the killing.

The first indication of the LTTE’s offer appeared in an interview by Mr. Kohana to The Sunday Island newspaper.

“I was told by Ulf Henricsson, head of the SLMM, that Puleedevan wanted talks immediately and I said, of course,” he told the newspaper.

Asked what kind of talks the LTTE had wanted, Mr. Kohona told the paper: "I don’t know what sort of talks. He (Henricsson) said he would get back to me but I haven’t heard since."

Meanwhile, heavy fighting continued in the Jaffna peninsula, with artillery and mortar exchanges. Details are sketchy as telephone links to the northern peninsula are tenuous.

“Last night, it was looking pretty grim,” Janes' Defence Weekly analyst and Sunday Times columnist Iqbal Athas told Reuters, pointing to unexpected Tiger artillery fire on the main Sri Lankan air base.

“With the air base under fire, one of the umbilicals to Jaffna has been cut,” Athas said.

And on Saturday, the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) base at Trincomalee came under LTTE artillery fire for the second time in a week. Trincomalee is the starting point for sea supply lines to Jaffna.

LTTE officials refused to comment on reports Sunday the air bridge to the northern peninsula had been cut, but said LTTE operations were ongoing inside the Muhamalai High Security Zone (HSZ) and other parts of the Jaffna peninsula.

The Sri Lankan government said Sunday it had repulsed an LTTE offensive there.

 

Latest 15 Reports
19.07.18 23:22   Photo
Skulls with bullet-like holes excavated in Mannaar mass grave, women and children among victims
18.07.18 19:21   Photo
Uprooted Mu'l'lik-ku'lam Tamils adopt Ira'nai-theevu approach, enter their lands seized by SL Navy
17.07.18 21:29   Photo
Colombo steps up shadow war against NPC Chief Minister Wigneswaran
16.07.18 22:48   Photo
SL Forest Department seizes agricultural lands of Eezham Tamils in Paduvaan-karai
15.07.18 19:14   Photo
Families of enforced disappeared vehemently oppose OMP sittings in North
14.07.18 19:35  
SL High Court in Vavuniyaa tricked again into postponing hearings on TPP case
13.07.18 23:20   Photo
NPC CM declines participation in Colombo's unilateral task force for so-called Development
12.07.18 12:22   Photo
Genocidal Sri Lanka seizes ancient coastal hamlet of Tamil-speaking aborigines in Trincomalee
11.07.18 18:20  
Collaborationist sections of TNA lose significance, Wigneswaran holds key to unified Tamil polity
10.07.18 21:53  
SL Military Intelligence recommences recruitment of notorious ex-paramilitary operatives
09.07.18 22:30   Photo
Antiquities Ordinance used to justify Sinhalicisation of 48 locations in Mullaiththeevu
08.07.18 19:06   Photo
TNPF protests against Colombo's move to militarise Jaffna Fort
07.07.18 19:56   Photo
SL Police in Champoor blocks remembrance of Tamils massacred by SL military
06.07.18 23:17  
Jaffna University silent to Colombo's pressure, motives behind Fort excavation questioned
05.07.18 23:49  
Tamils need native movements to confront Colombo-centric environmental exploitations
 
Find this article at:
http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=19213