LTTE vehemently condemns sinking of merchant vessel in International Waters

[TamilNet, Monday, 10 March 2003, 14:23 GMT]
The leadership of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam condemned the sinking by the Sri Lanka Navy of an LTTE merchant vessel in international waters, 220 nautical miles off Trincomalee, today. In a letter to Sri Lankan Defence Minister Tilak Marapane, the head of the LTTE’s Political Wing, Mr. S. P. Thamilchelvan, condemned the attack in which eleven LTTE cadres were killed as “a grave violation of the ceasefire agreement.”

Mr. Thamilchelvan further said “We wish to emphasize that this grave incident will have far reaching implications for the peace process,” and asked the Defence Minister to convey the LTTE’s “deep displeasure” to the Sri Lanka government.

Extracts of the letter follow:

“We consider the incident a grave violation of the ceasefire agreement as our vessel was not involved in any illegal action. Furthermore, the incident occurred in international waters beyond the jurisdiction of the Sri Lanka Navy. Our merchant vessel was intercepted and attacked without provocation. We contacted the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) when the incident began and registered a complaint. The head of the SLMM, Maj. Gen. Tryggve Tellefsen, observed that the authority of the Sri Lanka Navy does not extend into the international waters where the incident was taking place and assured us that he would use his good offices to prevent any confrontation.”

“Eleven of our cadres, including the ship’s captain, were killed when the vessel caught fire and sank after being attacked by the Sri Lanka Navy. We wish to emphasize that this grave incident will have far reaching implications for the peace process. We also wish to point out that, despite the ceasefire agreement, the Sri Lanka Navy has been involved in several deliberate and provocative acts against the LTTE for some time. Please convey our deep displeasure over these matters to your government.”

 

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