Lifting of proscription essential for talks ñ Thamil Chelvan

[TamilNet, Friday, 18 May 2001, 03:20 GMT]
"The removal of the proscription of the Liberation Tigers is an essential pre-requisite for talks", Mr. S. P Thamil Chelvan, the leader of the political wing of the LTTE told Norwegian Peace envoy Eric Solheim during discussions Thursday in Mallavi in the Vanni, according to the morning news broadcast of the Voice of Tigers Friday. The radio said that the Tigers had categorically told the Norwegian team that the LTTE would never take part in the talks as 'a proscribed terrorist organisation'. No final decision was reached during the five-hour meeting Thursday, according to the VOT. The Norwegian delegation and the Tigers also discussed the Memorandum of Understanding and a bilateral ceasefire, the radio said.

The removal of the proscription was the central issue in the talks between the Norwegian and LTTE delegations, according to the VOT. "The Liberation Tigers will not take part in peace talks with the Sri Lankan government while the law which proscribes them remains in place", Mr. Thamil Chelvan had emphasised.

The meeting began at 3 p.m. in the afternoon and concluded at 8 p.m. in the evening, according to the radio.

The VOT said that Mr. S. V Thamilenthi, head of the LTTEís finance section, Mr. P. Nadesan, head of the LTTEís Police force, Mr. S. Thangan, the head of the administration (political wing), Mr. George and Mr. Pulithevan were associated with Mr. Thamil Chelvan in the discussions.

The Norwegian team comprised Mr. Eric Solheim, special envoy, Mr. Jon Westborg, Norwayís Ambassador for Sri Lanka and an official from the Norwegian Foreign Ministry.

The VOT said that the two sided agreed to continue the discussions.

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