Media report of British pressure false -Balasingham

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 22 March 2005, 10:52 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers' Chief Negotiator and Political Advisor, Mr. Anton Balasingham Tuesday dismissed claims in a Sri Lankan newspaper that British authorities had pressured him to secure the release of a Tamil resident of the UK which the paper also claimed had been detained by the LTTE in northern Sri Lanka. A columnist in The Sunday Leader claimed this week that British intelligence officials had threatened Mr. Balasingham on behalf of Mr. Rajasingham Jeyadevan after the latter was detained by the LTTE.

Mr.Anton Balasingham."British intelligence officials invited Balasingham for a 'tea and biscuits' meeting. It was then suggested to him 'unofficially' that it would be in the best interests of the LTTE and Balasingham himself to ensure the immediate release of Jeyadevan," the Sunday Leader columnist, Mr. D.B.S Jeyaraj wrote.

"It was hinted that British 'weather' could turn 'nasty' if Jeyadevan did not return safely," Mr. Jeyaraj wrote.

But Mr. Balasingham dismissed Mr. Jeyaraj’s claim as a malicious disinformation campaign when contacted by TamilNet over the weekend report.

"At no stage has Jeyadevan's activities here or Sri Lanka or anywhere been raised with me by British officials," Mr. Balasingham said.

"As the chief negotiator involved in Sri Lanka’s peace process, I have contacts with British government authorities, but at no stage has Jeyadevan's affair been raised with me by British officials," Mr. Balasingham added.

Asked if the Sunday Leader had contacted Mr. Balasingham before publishing the reports, Mr. Balasingham replied in the negative.

"Recently the Sunday Leader editor conducted a lengthy interview with me, and they have my contact details," he said. "I am surprised and disappointed they did not raise the matter with me before publishing."

"Since leaving Vanni [in 1999 due to ill health] Britain has been my home and I have cordial relations with the authorities here," Mr. Balasingham said.

External Links:
The Sunday Leader: British intelligence forced LTTE to release Jeyadevan


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