Tamils, SLA mull truce implications
[TamilNet, Saturday, 22 December 2001, 13:03 GMT]
A "real" ceasefire will not come into effect until the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers negotiate and agree on "concrete modalities" of how it would be observed, military sources in Colombo said Saturday. The Sri Lankan security forces will desist from launching offensives and search operations during the cessation of hostilities declared Friday by the United National Front government, the sources added. A Sri Lanka army officer in the east said that the Tigers cannot enter areas controlled by the military with their personal weapons. "During the cessation of hostilities, we will fire only if we are provoked and we will take defensive action", the officer said.
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) says that the UNF government should remove the Prevention of Terrorism Act to prevent members of the armed forces from arresting and detaining members the Liberation Tigers during the cessation of hostilities with a view to 'deliberately precipitate incidents which could undermine the basis for starting peace negotiations'.
"There are Sinhala nationalist elements in the Sri Lankan security forces who might create provocative incidents to sabotage the cessation of hostilities. The President is still the commander of the armed forces. Hence there should be some neutral arrangement to monitor the situation in the northeast from 24 December to 24 January 2002", said Mr. 'Vellimalai' Krishnapillai, TNA MP for Batticaloa.
During the peace talks with the People's Alliance regime in 1994, the Liberation Tigers said that an international group should monitor the mutual cessation of hostilities at the time. A group of international monitors arrived in Sri Lanka and met the leader of the Liberation Tigers in the Vanni in 1994. However, the monitoring team had to languish in Colombo with very little to do as the PA regime became reluctant to negotiate the cessation of hostilities into a full-fledged ceasefire after the election of Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga as President.