LTTE express regret over sea incident
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 16 July 2002, 16:03 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in an official statement issued from its Political Head Quarters in Kilinochchi, northern Sri Lanka, denied categorically that they held two members of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) as hostages during a confrontation with the government, last Saturday, in the Mannar seas.
"The Sea Tiger cadres brought the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission members ashore in their fishing trawler to prevent any harm being done to them and to ensure their safety. We prevented them from jumping into the turbulent sea to reach the naval gunboat. We are disappointed to note that the SLMM members have assumed that they were held against their wishes. We deeply regret if any inconvenience has caused to them," the LTTE press note lamented.
"The LTTE Political Head Office has also complemented the SLMM for its dedication, courage and commitment in executing their duties impartially to promote the cause of peace in the Tamil homeland. We pledge our co-operation and support for the monitors to carry on their admirable work," the press note said.
The LTTE's press note vehemently criticised the Sri Lankan navy for deliberately creating hostile incidents to provoke the LTTE, particularly the Sea Tigers.
"The Cease-fire Agreement recognises the existence of the naval unit of the LTTE and strictly prohibits the Sri Lanka armed forces from engaging in hostile naval operations. The Sea Tigers should be allowed, without hindrance, to perform their activities along the coastal belt of the northeastern territories under their control. We have also requested the Head of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission to work out an agreement on the issue between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Navy," the statement further said.