Sea Tigers, SLN confer on Jaffna issues

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 13 November 2002, 12:44 GMT]
The Deputy Commander of the Sea Tigers Wednesday urged the Sri Lanka Navy not to engage in any action that would disrupt the peace negotiations to end the islandís conflict at a meeting with a Sri Lankan military delegation in the no manís land in Muhamalai in southern Jaffna Wednesday.

Lt. Col. Seliyan, the Deputy Commander, assured the Sri Lankan delegation that the Sea Tigers would do nothing on their part to disturb the peace process. Both sides told the press that the discussions were cordial and the meeting was constructive.

The discussions began at 10 a.m. and concluded at two p.m. in a shelter put up by the ICRC in the no manís land.

The SLN agreed to increase the number of entry points in Jaffna from which fishermen are currently allowed to set out to sea from 52 to 79.

It was also agreed that there would be no restrictions on fishing from eight entry points in Punguduthivu, Karainagar, Mathagal and Kayts. However, the Tigers pointed out that these entry points are in places where there arenít any people. Hence it was agreed to reconsider the schedule of the entry points in these areas.

Both sides said they are scheduled to meet in Tellipalai near the Palaly high security zone on Saturday 16 November to further discuss civilian concerns in the northern peninsula.

The LTTE representatives brought to the notice of the Sri Lankan delegation that the commander of their northern forces, Col. Theepan, would be able to attend the meeting on Saturday only if he can come with his handgun and personal bodyguard of ten.

During the talks, the LTTE representatives stressed that the A9 highway to Jaffna should be open round the clock for the convenience of the public, sources said.

The LTTE delegation had urged the Sri Lankan side that the people who were driven out from the coastal villages of Jaffna due to the war should be allowed to resettle in their homes and that the coastal road from Pt. Pedro to Maruthankerni which is currently blocked at Nagar Kovil should be opened to ease the tedious access problems currently faced by refugees returning to the region.

The Tigers also told the Sri Lankan delegation that fishermen in Paashaiyoor and Kurunagar, coastal suburbs of Jaffna town, should be permitted to fish in the Jaffna lagoon without any restrictions.

It was pointed out that the working hours of the ICRC has to be taken into account for keeping the A9 open round the clock when the Tigers brought up the matter and underscored their wish to have the road open 24 hours of the day.

The SLNís commander for its eastern command (Comeast) Rear Admiral Sarath Ratnakeerthy, the commander of its northern command (Comnorth) Rear Admiral Sarath P. Weerasekara, Sri Lanka Air Force Group Captain Kolitha Gunatilleke, and Acting Security Forces Commander, Jaffna, Maj. Gen. T. Ratnasabapathy comprised the Sri Lankan government delegation which was led by Maj. General Shantha Kottegoda.

Lt. Col. Seliyan led the LTTE delegation comprising, senior Sea Tiger officers, Lt. Col. Sri Ram, Lt. Col. Ranjan, Lt. Col. Arivu from the headquarters of the northern front forces of the LTTE, Mr. Ilamparithi, head of the LTTE political division in Jaffna and Mr. Pulithevan, secretary to the LTTEís peace secretariat.

The head of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission Maj. Gen. (ret) Trond Furhovde was also present at the discussions.

 

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