LTTE denies Moragoda gave assurance over Washington conference

[TamilNet, Monday, 28 April 2003, 19:33 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers denied Monday that Sri Lanka’s Economics Reform Minister, Milinda Moragoda, had given them an assurance they would be able to attend the international aid conference in Washington on April 14 as quoted in weekend press reports. The LTTE’s Chief Negotiator Anton Balasingham told TamilNet Monday the organisation was unable to attend the meeting as it is proscribed in the United States and reports suggesting Mr. Moragoda had given assurances otherwise were incorrect.

Weekend press reports had quoted Mr. S. P. Tamilselvan, head of the LTTE’s Political Wing as saying Mr. Moragoda had promised the LTTE that it would be able to attend the Washington meeting which was aimed at raising international financial assistance for Sri Lanka.

Mr. Anton BalasinghamMr. Moragoda is on the Sri Lankan delegation to the Norwegian facilitated peace talks. Mr. Tamilselvan is on the LTTE delegation headed by Mr. Balasingham.

Reuters news agency Monday quoted sources close to Mr. Moragoda as saying “he will play no further role in the peace talks unless the LTTE puts the record straight.”

“We are well aware that the LTTE is a proscribed organisation in the United States and these legal constraints precluded our attendance,” Mr. Balasingham told TamilNet Monday.

“Mr. Moragoda could not and certainly did not give us an assurance we would be able to participate,” Mr. Balsingham said.

“We regret Mr. Moragoda has been offended by this misunderstanding, as his contributions to furthering the peace process are invaluable,” Mr. Balsingham further said. “We have found him to be a person of impeccable integrity and have been able to resolve many complex and difficult issues with his creative participation.”

Mr. Tamilselvan Monday also denied the press comments attributed to him and suggested misinterpretation or errors in translation of the Tamil-language interviews he had given in the past few weeks.

In early April, the LTTE’s protested its de-facto exclusion from an international donor conference in Washington, saying this had undermined Tamil confidence in the Norwegian facilitated peace process.

Last week the LTTE suspended its participation ‘for the time being’ in the negotiations citing a number of issues, including its exclusion from the Washington meeting, and the Sri Lankan government’s failure to implement the normalisation aspects of the ceasefire agreement signed in February and other agreements reached in the past six rounds of talks.

 

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