Pilots picked Balasingham’s flight path

[TamilNet, Sunday, 05 May 2002, 12:20 GMT]
Mr. Anton Balasingham, the LTTE’s chief negotiator and political advisor, Sunday denied reports in sections of the Colombo press that he had violated the terms of the ceasefire agreement between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government by directing his seaplane over the Trincomalee seas on April 24 during a tense standoff between Sri Lanka Navy gunboats and Sea Tiger craft.

Mr. Balasingham told TamilNet that it was the pilot of the Norwegian sponsored seaplane who had made the decisions as to which course to take to their destination in the Maldives.

The pilots had selected their course “as an additional security measure,” he said.

“I did not instruct the pilot to fly over the Trincomalee seas. It was their [pilots] decision,” Mr. Balasingham. “I do not know why they opted for that route.”

“I am surprised to note that the Colombo media has taken the matter as a breach of the ceasefire and is making a controversy out of it,” he said.

Mr. Balasingham also said he had explained the matter to the Norwegian facilitators who “are satisfied with our position.” The Norwegian government had clarified the matter to the Sri Lankan government, he added.

On his flight from Vanni to Maldives before onward travel to London, Mr. Balasingham was accompagnied by his wife Adele and an official of the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, Ms. Kirsti Tromsdale.

 

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