Negotiators in Berlin for fifth round
[TamilNet, Thursday, 06 February 2003, 22:51 GMT]
Negotiators representing the Liberation Tigers and the Sri Lankan government as well as Norwegian facilitators arrived in Berlin Thursday to participate in the fifth round of direct talks between the two sides brokered by Oslo.
Mr. Anton Balasingham, the LTTE’s Chief Negotiator, and his wife, Mrs Adele Balasingham, Secretary to the LTTE delegation, arrived Thursday morning from London, where they reside, to a rousing welcome LTTE officials who had arrived earlier and several dozen Tamil expatriates who had learned of their flight in.
The LTTE’s two other negotiators, Mr. S. P. Tamilselvan, the head of the movement’s political wing, and Colonel Karuna, Special Commander Batticaloa-Amparai, who were among those who met the Balasinghams at the airport, arrived in Berlin earlier this week, sources said.
Two Sri Lankan negotiators, Economic Reforms Minister, Mr. Milinda Moragoda, and Mr. Bernard Gunatillake, Director of Sri Lanka’s Peace Secretariat arrived Thursday morning from London, on the same plane as the Balasinghams, sources said.
Another traveler on the British Airways flight from Heathrow was Mr. Ian Martin, a former head of Amnesty International, who is to advice the delegates on human rights-related matters, the sources said further.
Sri Lanka’s Chief Negotiator, Constitutional Affairs Minister, Prof. G. L. Peiris, arrived Wednesday from Colombo. The last of his team, Ports Minister Rauf Hakeem was expected to arrive in Berlin Thursday night.
The negotiations, moved to Berlin from Bangkok to reduce traveling strain on the LTTE chief negotiator, Mr. Anton Balasingham, have also been shortened to two days as the LTTE leadership requires time to deliberate before progressing with key issues under discussion.
The talks are to comprise three sessions. The first, from 0930 to 1230 Friday, would consider the report from the Sub Committee on Immediate Humanitarian and Rehabilitation Needs in the North and East (SIHRN). The delegates will also discuss “security matters” and “other humanitarian and development related matters including the resettlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs).”
At the second sitting from 1500 to 1800, the two sides will discuss “political matters.” There will also be an “informal discussion on human rights.”
The third session on Saturday, from 0900 to 1200 the delegates are expected to discuss “matters raised in the first two sittings, as necessary.” They would also discuss the next sessions of peace talks.