Announcement on lifting ban due soon

[TamilNet, Saturday, 24 August 2002, 20:50 GMT]
The United National Front government said Saturday that official announcement on lifting the ban on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam will be out in a day or two. "The government has already decided to lift the ban on the LTTE if it would be an obstacle for having direct talks with that organisation to find a negotiated political solution to the present conflict. There is no change in that decision. The government is now in the process of making arrangements to issue an official announcement in this regard," said the Defence Minister Mr.Tilak Marapone.

Earlier the Minister paid a courtesy call to the Malwatte Mahanayake Thera, Ven. Rambukwelle Vipassi at Kandy.

"All obstacles should be removed to facilitate the peace talks to go ahead as an opportunity has dawned to resolve the conflict through peaceful negotiation," Minister Tilak Marapone told the prelate.

The Minister added that during the first round of talks scheduled to begin on September 16 in Thailand, there is a possibility to discuss the agenda for the second round of talks.

He told the prelate that troops had vacated schools and places of worships in accordance with the ceasefire agreement signed between the government and the LTTE. However the withdrawal of government troops from such places has not affected the military balance in those areas. The President has already been informed of this, he said.

"The LTTE has fought direct war with the government troops. The ban imposed locally on the LTTE has not made that organisation invalid when fighting the government forces," the Defence Minister reminded the prelate.

Lifting the ban on the LTTE would have no impact on the ban imposed by countries such America, India, Canada and Australia on that organization, the Minister reiterated.

Meanwhile, Economic Reforms Minister Mr.Milinda Morogoda Saturday evening left for New Delhi to brief Indian leaders on the latest development that has taken place this week regarding the peace process, Colombo sources said.


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