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No Geneva talks unless hurdles are removed, warns LTTE

Written by: Staff

Colombo, Apr 16 (UNI) In a strongly-worded letter to the Norwegian peace talks facilitators, the Tamil Tigers today warned that they would not attend the proposed direct talks in Geneva rescheduled for April 24 and 25 ''until the hurdles'' in relation to the travelling of its eastern commanders to Wanni for meeting with the rebel leadership ''are removed''.

LTTE's political wing head S P Thamilselvan said in the letter written to the Norwegian Ambassador to Colombo Hans Brattskar that the organization was ''saddened'' that, by blocking their air and sea travel arrangements, the rebel outfit has been placed in a difficult situation where their negotiating team was unable to attend the Geneva talks.

''We, therefore, hereby wish to inform you with sadness that until the hurdles in front of us to attend Geneva talks are removed and a more conducive environment created, our negotiating team is unable to come to the Geneva talks,'' the Tamilnet website has quoted Mr Thamilselvan as stating in the letter.

The rebel outfit charged the Government of Sri Lanka of holding ''well published all party conferences prior to the Geneva talks'' while ''placing all of these hurdles to prevent'' them from holding even a central committee meeting of their leadership with its eastern commanders for the same purpose.

''The Government of Sri Lanka has blocked the movements and activities of our commanders and disregarded the standards of ceasefire agreement. This has placed our liberation organization under serious limitations creating a problematic environment in which we are forced to function. We understood this stance of the Government as one bent on stopping us from attending the next Geneva talks,'' the LTTE has said.

''For future efforts, I am sure you would understand the importance of pressuring the Sri Lankan Government to implement the CFA in letter and spirit, to implement in particular what was agreed upon at the Geneva talks and to prevent it from altering the practices already put in place. It is only through these measures the conducive environment for future peace talks will be created,'' Mr Thamilselvan has informed the Norwegian facilitators.

The outfit's latest warning has come exactly a day after the government questioned the LTTE's willingness to attend the Geneva talks.

Claiming that the government was fully committed and prepared to attend the Geneva talk as scheduled, head of the government peace secretariat Dr Palitha Kohona said yesterday that ''the ball is now in the LTTE's court''.


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