Talks possible only after hurdles are cleared - Thamilchelvan
[TamilNet, Sunday, 16 April 2006, 16:32 GMT]
LTTE Political Head S.P.Thamilchelvan on Sunday, in a letter to the Norwegian Ambassador Hans Brattskar, informed that LTTE will not attend the Geneva Talks until the hurdles in front of the the LTTE to attend Geneva talks were removed and a more conducive enviornment created. He expressed the critical need for the LTTE leadership in Vanni to meet the eastern commanders before any future talks, and accused Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) for "acting in a manner that threatened the safety of LTTE commanders," thereby forcing the LTTE to cancel the sea-transport arrangement.
Full text of the letter follows:
16th April 2006,
H.E. The Ambassador for Norway
We write to explain to you the unfortunate events of 15 April 2006 and the situation that has arisen as a result of it.
We have requested you and the SLMM to arrange the usual transportation of our eastern commanders within a short period following the Geneva talks. After fixing the dates for the travel of our commanders, SLMM informed us that the GoSL has rejected air travel of our commanders. Our leadership was shocked and angered by the GoSL rejection of an already established practice. Given, the importance of the decisions we had to make before the next Geneva talks, and the importance of the travel of our commanders for this purpose, we proposed to SLMM the arrangements already in place for sea travel of our members. The GoSL informed through SLMM that it is banning this mode of travel as well and insisted that we must travel only in the vessel that is arranged by the Sri Lankan Navy.
While the GoSL is holding well published all party conferences prior to the Geneva talks, it is placing all of these hurdles to prevent us from holding even a central committee meeting of our leadership. On top of this, the GoSL 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 GoSL as one bent on stopping us from attending the next Geneva talks.
It is at this time, the Head of SLMM met us and proposed a travel arrangement and requested us to accept it as a temporary measure. He proposed that he will arrange a civilian vessel for the transport of our commanders accompanied by the SLMM, including himself, and there will be no involvement or interference from the Sri Lankan Navy. Our leadership accepted this as a temporary arrangement in view of the importance of the upcoming Geneva talks. We prepared for the sea journey of our commanders fully trusting the words of the Head of SLMM.
Unfortunately, because the Sri Lankan Navy conducted itself in a manner that threatened the safety of our commanders, and because events took place that were against the promises made by the Head of the SLMM, the central committee meeting of our leadership could not take place. We have already explained to you that we cannot attend the Geneva talks without meeting our eastern commanders and take some firm decisions.
We condemn the actions of GoSL for disturbing the travel of our commanders and at the same time we express our regret for this situation. We are saddened that, by blocking our air travel and by disturbing our sea travel arranged by SLMM, we are placed in the difficult situation where we are 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 Geneva team is unable to come to the Geneva talks.
For future efforts, I am sure you would understand the importance of pressuring the GoSL, 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.