SLA meets LTTE’s Northern Forces Commander
[TamilNet, Thursday, 12 September 2002, 17:08 GMT]
(Adds: Photo) The commander of the Northern Front Forces of the
Liberation Tigers, Col. Theepan, had discussions with
the commander of the Sri Lankan security forces in
Jaffna, Major. Gen. Sarath Fonseka, Thursday evening
to discuss the opening of the Pt. Pedro –
Maruthankerni Road on Jaffna’s east coast and the
positioning of Forward Defence Localities in the Nagar
The Liberation Tigers say the SLA should open the
coastal road to ease the difficulties civilians on
Jaffna east coast face now due to the route being
blocked by heavily mined defence positions.
Commander of the LTTE’s forward defence positions, Lt.
Col. Arivu, Lt. Col. Lawrence, the Northern Front
commander’s personal assistant, and Mr. Pulithevan and
Mr. Eelamaranan, officials from the headquarters of
the LTTE’s political division, accompanied Col.
The SLA team comprised Major. Gen. Sarath Fonseka,
Civil Affairs officer Brigadier Upali Edirisingha and
Major K. Silva.
A Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission team led by its head,
Maj. Gen. Furhovde, facilitated the meeting which was
held in the no man’s land in Muhamalai from 5 p.m. to
6.30 p.m. Thursday.
Col. Theepan told Maj. Gen. Sarath Fonseka that the
SLA in Nagar Kovil continues to maintain bunkers
within hundred metres of the LTTE’s FDL in violation
of the ceasefire agreement, despite the matter being
brought to the Sri Lankan military’s notice on earlier
occasions, sources said.
Article 1.4 (Separation of forces) of the Ceasefire
Agreement between the LTTE and Colombo states: “Where
forward defence localities have been established, the
GOSL's armed forces and the LTTE's fighting formations
shall hold their ground positions, maintaining a zone
of separation of a minimum of 600 metres. However,
each party reserves the right of movement within 100
metres of its own defence localities, keeping an
absolute minimum distance of 400 metres between them.
Where existing positions are closer than 400 metres,
no such right of movement applies and the parties
agree to ensure the maximum possible distance between
Both sides agreed during the discussions not to build
new defence positions would be built in the Nagar
Kovil sector in the future.
On the question of opening the Pt. Pedro Maruthankerni
Road, Maj. Gen. Sarath Fonseka informed the LTTE
delegation that the SLA is considering the matter and
has begun removing land mines from the road. He said
that extra troops have been despatched to the area to
expedite the work.
An SLA officer in Jaffna told TamilNet Thursday
evening the meeting was “very cordial and friendly”.
The Liberation Tigers say that civilians have to take
a detour of more than 13 kilometres from Pt. Pedro to
reach their villages in the
Maruthankerni-Chempiyanpattu region on the peninsula’s
southeastern coast because of the FDLs in Nagar Kovil.
The LTTE re-captured this region from the SLA after
bitter fighting in March-April 2000.
Hundreds of families which fled the war are resettling
in their villages here.
The LTTE says the re-settlers are facing a lot of
hardship because the coastal road linking Jaffna and
Vadamaradchi east (the administrative name of the
region) is blocked by heavily mined SLA fortifications
at Tharavai junction in the general area of Nagar
Nagar Kovil was the most intensely contested sector of
the lines separating the SLA from the military forces
of the Liberation Tigers in the Jaffna peninsula until
the signing of the ceasefire agreement in February