LTTE rejects SLA proposals

[TamilNet, Thursday, 15 July 1999, 14:15 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers said today that while they were "agreed in principle" to open an access route into the Vanni, they had rejected the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) proposal that the LTTE withdraw 5 km. from their present positions at Mankulam so as to create a demilitarised no-man's land for this purpose.

In a statement emailed to TamilNet from their London offices, the Tigers said that the negotiations between the SLA and the LTTE on the matter "have reached an impasse over disagreement pertaining to modalities to create a de-militarised zone".

The LTTE has told the ICRC delegates, who have been mediating between the SLA and the Tigers that Sri Lanka's proposal "has serious strategic and military implications disadvantageous to the LTTE."

"The LTTE suspects the withdrawal of its forces to several miles back from its present entrenched positions to create a demilitarised zone might encourage the army to embark on a new adventure to move forward along the A9 highway," the statement said.

The A9 highway was the objective of a major SLA offensive, codenamed Operation Jayasikurui, launched in May 1997. The operation was called off in October 1998 after thousands of casualties.

The LTTE also said that the Sri Lankan government, "by stipulating an unfair and unacceptable demands... is deliberately delaying the food and other essential supplies to Vanni population."

SLA officials said today that they had sent a message to the LTTE through the ICRC yesterday, to reconsider their [SLAís] proposals.

The officials said there was disagreement whether the 5 miles of no-man's land ahead of the entry point should be 500 meters or one kilometre wide.

Meanwhile, R.Tharmakulasingam the Government Agent (GA) for Mullaithivu has requested the Commissioner General of Essential Services and the Government Agent for Vavuniya in an urgent letter to take immediate action to open a road to the Vanni by negotiating with the parties concerned, as the stock of food in his district is very low and diminishing fast.

The Vavuniya GA is the co-ordinator for food and other essentials supplies to the Vanni area held by the LTTE.

The Mullaithivu GA has said in his letter that the food stores and co-operative societies in the district are empty and they are unable to issue rations to the thousands of displaced families in the region.

He has said that the critical patients in the Vanni hospitals are suffering without ambulance transport to Vavuniya and Anuradhapura for further treatment.

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