Pathuman expresses serious concern to SLMM

[TamilNet, Thursday, 11 July 2002, 21:11 GMT]
The commander of the Liberation Tigers in Trincomalee, Mr.Pathuman, Thursday expressed his serious concern over the arrests of unarmed members of the organisation by the Sri Lankan security forces, to the Head of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission. The LTTE commander held discussions, lasting two and half hours, at his office in Sampoor in the Mutur-east with the head of the SLMM head, (retd) Major General Trond Furuhovde Thursday morning.

Mr.Pathuman held a press conference at his office this afternoon.

"Five of our members were arrested in Trincomalee by the Sri Lankan security forces in contravention of the cease-fire agreement. Our political office in Mutur was attacked. But we were patient. But if we had acted like Sri Lankan security forces personnel, we would have been branded terrorists," Mr.Pathuman said at the press conference.

"The SLMM head told us that the arrests of five of our cadres in Trincomalee should be considered as a clear violation of the cease-fire agreement. We consider that the government has violated the cease-fire agreement in this respect," he said.

Mr.Trond Furuhovde arrived Mutur Thursday morning around 9 a.m accompanied by a team of eleven persons including Ms Victoria Lund, head of the Trincomalee SLMM and Mr. Pontius Westrom, of the SLMM, Wing Commander Raja Wickremasinghe and Dr.John Gunaretna of the Peace Secretariat, which comes under the Sri Lankan Prime Minister. Associated with LTTE Trincomalee district commander Mr.Pathuman in the talks were Mr Pulithevan, special representative of the LTTE and Mr.Tilak, leading member of the LTTE in Trincomalee.

During the discussions with the LTTE representatives led by Mr. Pathuman peace Secretariat officials said that the government was not aware of the arrests of unarmed LTTE members in Trincomalee by Sri Lankan security force personnel.

SLMM Head, (retd) Major General Trond Furuhovde and LTTE Trincomalee district Commander Mr.Pathuman. (Photo: TamilNet)

However the government would not allow such arrests in future, they assured. The SLMM told the LTTE delegation that it would see that no such arrests would take place in future.

"The SLMM head told us that Sri Lankan security forces officers in Trincomalee had assured him at a conference held Wednesday in Trincomalee, that arrests of this nature would not take place in future and the earlier arrests of LTTE members had taken place without their knowledge," Mr.Pathuman said at the press conference.

Mr. Pathuman further said, "we feel that the government is not properly implementing the cease-fire agreement in Trincomalee district."

Article 1:13 of the Cease-fire Agreement clearly states, "all unarmed LTTE members are entitled to freedom of movement in the northeast other than the specified military areas."

Referring to the proposed peace talks with, Mr. Pathuman said: "the peace talks will be delayed pending the full implementation of the cease-fire agreement."

Regarding recent troubles in Mutur Mr. Pathuman said: "some Muslim extremist groups were behind the violence. We cannot blame the entire Muslims for the disturbances that took place recently. We have taken steps to restore normalcy in the area. Joint action will be taken to ensure harmony in Mutur in consultation with Muslim religious and community leaders at the village level irrespective of their party politics. We are taking this step to take forward the peace process."

The LTTE's Trincomalee district commander Mr. Pathuman requsted the SLMM head that sea transport should be faciliated for members of LTTE in the Vanni to come to Mutur to see their parents and relatives. "The SLMM head said that he would contact the Sri Lankan authorities concerned and would give a positive reply soon," Mr. Pathuman said.

SLMM Head, (retd) Major General Trond Furuhovde, Ms Victoria Lund, Head of SLMM in Trincomalee, LTTE special representative Mr.Pulithevan and LTTE Trincomalee leading member Mr.Tilak are seen with LTTE Trincomalee district Commander Mr.Pathuman during talks. (Photo: TamilNet)


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