LTTE, SLA de-mine to open access route

[TamilNet, Saturday, 07 August 1999, 11:23 GMT]
Work on opening a safe passage for civilians on the A9 at Mankulam began at 11:30 a.m. yesterday. The ICRC delegate for Vavuniya, Sherine Pollini, and the ICRC delegate for Mallavi, Rene Walter, were present on either side of no man's land to witness the event and to facilitate the process.

Army personnel planted a white flag at a spot roughly equidistant from the Forward Defence Lines (FDL) on either side of the no man's land.

The Army and the Liberation Tigers then contacted each other on walkie talkies.

The high road block on the A9 at this site then removed.

Two personnel from the SLA and two from the LTTE walked up towards each other and spoke briefly .

Mines on the A9 highway were removed to about 50 meters on either side.

An ICRC source, however, said that the total distance de-mined yesterday was about 83 meters. He said that mines by the side of the road were not removed yesterday. The LTTE was represented by the deputy leader of its political wing, Karikalan, Suresh and Jeyam.

Army sources in Vavuniya said that the LTTE has not yet confirmed whether de-mining can continue tomorrow. They said that de-mining was expected to resume on Monday or Tuesday.

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