Balasingham returns to Vanni
[TamilNet, Monday, 25 March 2002, 10:22 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers' chief negotiator and political strategist, Mr. Anton Balasingham, returned to the Vanni Monday, arriving from the Maldives in a seaplane which landed on the Iranamadu irrigation tank in the LTTE controlled region. Accompanied by his wife, Adele, and an official from the Norwegian Embassy in Colombo, Mr. Balasingham was upon arriving met by the LTTE's leader, Mr. Vellupillai Pirapaharan, head of the movementís political section, Mr. Thamil Chelvan and senior LTTE military commanders.
Mr. and Mrs. Balasingham left London on Friday and travelled to Vanni via the Maldives, where they met up with Norwegian officials Sunday.
| The leader of the Liberation Tigers Mr. Velupillai Pirapaharan welcoming the organisation's chief negotiator and political strategist, Mr. Anton Balasingham on the shore of the Iranamadu reservior in the Vanni, Monday. (Photo: TamilNet)|
The seaplane, owned by a Danish company and flown by two Canadian pilots, touched down at 10.30am local time and was met by a Sea Tiger boat captained by the LTTE naval commander, Soosai.
They were met on the shore of the Iranamadu lake by Mr. Pirapaharan. The LTTE leader and Mr. Balasingham went into a private meeting, their first face to face discussion in three years.
In the meantime, a Norwegian delegation arrived by helicopter in Kilinochchi. It included Mr. Erik Solheim, Special Advisor to the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, Mr. Jon Westborg, the Norwegian Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Mr. Trond Furohovde, head of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission and another member of the SLMM.
After a meeting between Mr. ThamilChelvan and Mr. Balasingham, the two LTTE officials had a lengthy discussion with the Norwegian delegation.
Meanwhile, a meeting has been arranged for Tuesday morning between Mr. Pirapaharan, Mr. Balasingham, Mr. Thamil Chelvan and the Norwegian delegation to discuss matters related to the permanent ceasefire between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government as well as other political matters.
(Photos:) The LTTE leader welcoming the Norwegian official who accompanied Mr. Anton Balasingham (left) and Ms. Adele Balasingham (right)