Undue emphasis on direct talks sidelined key issues - Thamilchelvan

[TamilNet, Thursday, 08 June 2006, 23:46 GMT]
Preoccupied with bringing Sri Lankan government and the LTTE delegations to face-face talks, Norwegian facilitators had placed less emphasis on engaging with key issues at stake, and more on convincing the two sides to sit opposite to each other, the head of the LTTE’s Political Wing, Mr. S. P. Thamilchelvan, told reporters Thursday evening.

He said that the LTTE had come to Oslo, at Norway’s invitation, to discuss issues related to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) with Norway, which is responsible for the SLMM.

Mr. Thamilchelvan said whilst there was no obligation on part of the LTTE to meet the Sri Lankan delegation, the head of the Tigers' Peace Secretariat was prepared to meet his counterpart, Sri Lanka Peace Secretariat Head, Palitha Kohana, who was leading the Sri Lankan delegation, which did not include any senior government figures.

[L-R] Tamileelam Police Chief B. Nadesan and LTTE's Pollitical Head S. P. Thamilchelvan


Mr. Thamilchelvan expressed regret that Norwegian facilitators, whilst criticising the LTTE for not agreeing to face-to-face talks, had not pointed out the Sri Lankan government delegation’s refusal of the LTTE offer, and GoSL delegations' insistence that they meet senior LTTE officials.

Mr. Thamilchelvan further said that his delegation would Friday discuss the issues related to sea movement and convey the LTTE leadership's responses to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission and the Norwegian facilitators.

Responding to a question how LTTE viewed the international response to the escalation of violence, Mr. Thamilchelvan said although the international community was expressing concern over extra-judicial killings by the Sri Lankan armed forces, it had stopped short of taking action against the government of Sri Lanka.

“This situation should change in order to create the necessary environment to engage the Sri Lankan government in a peace process,” Mr. Thamilchelvan said. “It should be borne in mind that the whole process has been blocked by the non-implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement, in particular, the basic issue of disarming the military’s paramilitary groups.”

The International Community has failed to exert credible pressure on Sri Lanka to disarm the paramilitaries, Mr. Thamilchelvan said.

Mr. Thamilchelvan pointed out that facilitating peace in Sri Lanka was a difficult task, cited comments by the late Major General Trond Furuhovde, the first head of the SLMM, who argued in an article shortly before his death earlier this year that a facilitator must act not just proactively in relation to the two parties but follow a strategy that allowed Norway to become a constructive partner for peace.


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