2ND LEAD (UPDATE)

SLA blocks SLMM officials at Oamanthai border

[TamilNet, Thursday, 04 October 2007, 06:58 GMT]
Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) Northern Region officials scheduled to meet Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam (LTTE) officials in Ki'linochchi Thursday noon were blocked from crossing the Oamanthai entry point by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) due to new instructions from Colombo, General Secretary of Liberation Tigers Peace Secretariat, S. Puleedevan, told TamilNet. By refusing entry to the SLMM, Colombo was trying to block the information flow between the SLMM and the LTTE, he charged. Meanwhile, SLMM sources said the monitors had returned after being informed of new routines that involved going through a body check, inspection of vehicles and early enlistment of travelers.

Two officials from the Northern Region office of the SLMM in Vavuniyaa and two SLMM technicians from Colombo, visiting the Liaison Office in Ki'linochchi, were forced to cancel their visit to Vanni.

The development comes following the controversy surrounding Tuesday's meeting between an Icelandic Foreign Ministry official and LTTE's Political Head in Ki'linochchi. The travel was facilitated by the SLMM.

The Sri Lankan foreign ministry has accused that the Icelandic Foreign Ministry official, Bjarni Vestmann, had bypassed the normal channels when he visited Ki'linochchi on Tuesday to meet LTTE's Political Head S.P. Thamilchelvan, media reports in Colombo said.

SLMM monitors come from Iceland and Norway.

The SLMM, headquartered in Colombo, has six district offices in the Northeast and a liaison office in LTTE controlled Killinochchi.


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