LTTE agrees to Mannar sea evacuation

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 27 July 1999, 07:38 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers have welcomed a proposal by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) that seriously ill patients stranded in the Vanni due to the closure of the access point at Uyilankulam could be evacuated by sea, said sources close to the LTTE in Europe.

The LTTE is said to have suggested using the west coast of Mannar for this purpose.

The sources said the leader of the LTTE's political section S.P. Tamilselvan made the offer in a letter to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) yesterday.

The Sri Lanka Army had proposed that Vanni patients could be evacuated to Colombo from Mullaitivu on the eastern coast, they said.

However, the LTTE has said that the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) proposal was not feasible because of the prevailing weather conditions and the security and logistic considerations, they added.

The journey from Mannar to Colombo is shorter than that from Mullaitivu.

According to the Vavuniya Government Agent (GA), K. Ganesh, at least eight seriously ill people have died in the Vanni as they were unable to travel to hospitals in the south.

The LTTE said in its letter to the ICRC that it believes the SLA is deliberately delaying the opening of a route into the Vanni to assist its military objectives in the region by denying the populace supplies of relief aid and medicine, the sources said.

The LTTE also said in its letter that it was agreeable to a demilitarised zone in the no-manís land between its present defence lines and the SLA's at Mankulam, but it was not prepared to dismantle its defences for this purpose, they said.

The LTTE is said to have suggested the re-opening of the access route through Uyilankulam and Pallamadu areas which was closed on June 26 during the SLA's Operation Rana Gosa 4.


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