2nd Lead (Adds Photo)
Tigers, GOSL optimistic after first defence meet
[TamilNet, Sunday, 10 November 2002, 13:39 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers and the Government of Sri Lanka
(GOSL) said they were confident of making further
progress in stabilising the island’s peace process on
the ground as their high-level defence teams wound up
four hours of talks in Omanthai, 18 kilometres north
of Vavuniya, on the line of control, Sunday.
Senior military commanders of the Liberation Tigers
led by Col. V. Karuna took up the issue of resettling
thousands of Internally Displaced Persons in the
northeast and the removing restrictions on fishing
with their Sri Lankan counterparts.
Senior LTTE commandar Col Karuna shakes hand with Major. Gen. Shantha Kottegoda. Mr. Austin Fernando, Secretary to Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence is seen in the centre.
“The meeting was successful for the simple reason that
it was cordial. We started talking to each other
quite openly and I think it should be considered as a
successful one. We came to some decisions about the
meetings to be held in the future. Then we worked on
issues such as fishing, the return of IDPs. All that
was discussed and we have decided to hold district
level meetings in Jaffna, Vavuniya, Trincomalee,
Batticaloa and Ampara. As we go on, I think we will
get better results out of the issues we have looked at
(today),” said Mr. Austin Fernando, Secretary to Sri
Lanka’s Ministry of Defence, speaking to presspersons
when the meeting concluded around 3.35 p.m. Sunday.
During the discussions, Lt. Col. Seliyan, the
commander of the attack groups of the Sea Tigers,
brought up the problems faced by fishermen in Kayts,
Punguduthivu, Karainagar, and Mathagal in Jaffna due
to restrictions that are still imposed on them by the
Sri Lanka Navy. It was agreed in principle to lift the
restrictions and permit fishing in the sea round the
“But the location of the eight entry points from where
fishermen can set out to sea round the clock would be
announced on 13 November when Rear Admiral S. P
Weerasekara is scheduled to hold talks at Muhamalai on
issues related to fishing in Jaffna with the LTTE’s
northern front forces commander Col. Theepan and Lt.
Col. Seliyan”, sources said.
Col. Theepan, the commander of the LTTE’s northern
front forces pointed out to the GOSL team that Sri
Lankan armed forces occupy 35 percent of the densely
populated Valigamam division of Jaffna.
“It is the wish of our leader and our organisation
that normalcy should restored to ensure the well being
of our people. We emphasised this at the talks today.
These talks should fulfil the basic aspirations and
guarantee the fundamental rights of our people,” said
Mr. Pulithevan, the secretary of the LTTE’s Peace
The LTTE’s team led by senior commander Col. Karuna
comprised the commander of its northern front forces,
Col. Theepan, the commander of its western front
forces, Col. Jeyam, the commander of LTTE forces in
Trincomalee, Col. Pathuman, Lt. Col. Seliyan, the head
of LTTE’s political division in Trincomalee, Mr.
Thilak, head of political division in Batticaloa, Mr.
Kousalyan, head of political division in Vavuniya, Mr.
Elilan, head of political division in Jaffna, Mr.
Ilamparithi and Mr. Pulithevan.
The Sri Lanka team led by Mr. Austin Fernando
comprised Major. Gen. Shantha Kottegoda, Maj. Gen
S. R Balasuriya, Rear Admiral S. P Weerasekera, Senior
Superintendent of Police (SSP) of the STF Mr. Nimal
Lewke, Kalmaunai, Kalmunai SSP M. A Majeed, Group
Captain Kolitha Gunatilake of the Sri Lanka Air Force
and Brig. (ret) Devinda Kalupahana.
Mr. Pulithevan came for meeting with the Norwegian
Ambassador Jon Westborg and other officials of the
Royal Norwegian Embassy in Colombo. Head of the Sri
Lanka Monitoring Mission Trond Furhovde was also
The Tamil Eelam Police provided tight security to the