Sampoor threatens Trinco Harbour - Rajapakse
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 22 August 2006, 09:20 GMT]
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse on Monday told the representatives of the Co-Chairs of Tokyo Donors’ Conference for the Sri Lankan Peace Process, that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) controlled Sampoor posed a threat to Trincomalee Harbour and justified the Sri Lankan armed forces offensive as "preventing" or "responding" to Tigers. However, informed sources in Colombo said the humanitarian crisis escalated by the Maavilaru offensive, initiated by Colombo and the targeting of civilians in air-strikes and the slaying of NGO workers in Muthur, were discussed at the meeting between the Sri Lankan President and the diplomats representing the Co-Chairs.
Diplomatic sources in Colombo further said that the Norwegian facilitators were trying to convince the parties, the GoSL and the LTTE, to comply with and reassert to the cessation of hostilities as spelled in the February 2002 CFA.
Article 1.2 of the Ceasefire Agreement states: "Neither Party shall engage in any offensive military operation."
Article 1.4 of the CFA states: "Where forward defence localities have been established, the GOSL’s armed forces and the LTTE's fighting formations shall hold their ground positions, maintaining a zone of separation of a minimum of six hundred (600) metres." and Article 1.5 states: "In areas where localities have not been clearly established, the status quo as regards the areas controlled by the GOSL and the LTTE, respectively, on 24 December 2001 shall continue to apply pending such demarcation as is provided in article 1.6."
Colombo, as the party that launched the Maavilaru offensive, in "open violation" to the CFA article, and the targeting of Sampoor area for more than 3 months, would be expected to assure and reassert it's commitment to the cessation of hostilities first, the diplomatic sources in Colombo said.
Norwegian Ambassador Hans Brattskar, EU Representatives Julian Wilson and Wolfgang Erdmannstoerter (Acting Ambassador, Germany), Acting High Commissioner for Britain James Moore and Japanese Acting Ambassador Nobuaki Ito took part in the meeting held at Temples Trees.
Sri Lankan Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe and the SL Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera, assisted Mahinda Rajapakse, the SL President and the Commander-in-Chief of the Sri Lankan armed forces, in his meeting with the foreign diplomats.