Conditional negotiations only - Ratwatte

[TamilNet, Thursday, 10 September 1998, 22:00 GMT]
While maintaining that a settlement in Sri Lanka's war in could only be reached through a political process involving the Liberation Tigers, Deputy Minister of Defence, Anuruddha Ratwatte , said that this could be only be achieved by negotiating on the conditions put forward by the Peoples' Alliance (PA) Government and not unconditionally as the opposition United National Party (UNP) was proposing.

The Minister was speaking in Parliament, on a motion to extend the island's state of emergency.

He said that the LTTE was militarily weakened by the Sri Lanka Army and by a growing gap between the Tigers and the Tamil people.

The Minister's statement comes amid government claims of a controversial meeting between a UNP MP, Dr. Jayalath Jayewardene and Thamil Chelvam, head of the LTTE's political wing in the jungles of the Vanni and the UNP's recently adopted stance that no conditions should be imposed on the LTTE before negotiations.

Thamil Chelvam, speaking to a Sunday newspaper said that the LTTE was prepared for unconditional talks to resolve the conflict.

The motion to extend the emergency was passed by a majority of 24 votes (104 for, 80 against).


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