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We are working on Geneva joint-statement: Lanka

Written by: Staff
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Colombo, Mar 23: The Sri Lankan government today (Mar 23, 2006) said it was working to control armed groups in its areas as mentioned in the joint statement issued after talks with the Tamil Tiger rebels in Geneva last month.

''We are working on the agreed joint-statement in Geneva. We hope the LTTE would stop child recruitment and other human rights violations,'' Cabinet Spokesman and Media Minister, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa told reporters here.

The government reaction has come a day after LTTE's London-based chief negotiator, Anton Balasingham criticised the government of shielding the paramilitaries, mainly the renegade Karuna group, and turning a blind eye on their attack on the LTTE cadres.

Mr Balasingham charged that these attacks would be considered as serious violation of the ceasefire and any more such attacks would force the rebel leadership to review its decision to take part in the next round of talks scheduled in Geneva for mid-April.

On the LTTE charges, he said, ''We cannot comment on Mr Balasingham's statement. But the Norwegian facilitators and the government peace mission will definitely take up these issues in an official capacity''.

Mr Yapa counter-charged the LTTE of having violated the ceasefire agreement more than 31 times after the Geneva talks and said they have informed the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) in this regard.

''This means that we also have concerns. But we strongly believe that there will be a next round of talks,'' he added.

After the two-day Geneva truce talks in February, the government agreed to control the armed groups while the LTTE agreed to stop all forms of attacks on the government security forces and the police.

The SLMM is tasked to submit a report on the progress of the implementation of the Geneva agreement at the next round of talks.

UNI

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