3RD LEAD (Adds Corrections)

Henricsson to facilitate safe travel of Eastern LTTE Commanders

[TamilNet, Thursday, 13 April 2006, 09:01 GMT]
The stalemate in the preparation to Geneva Talks ended Thursday as the Tiger leadership accepted the latest suggestion submitted by Major General Ulf Henricsson, Head of Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, who assured safe travel of the Eastern LTTE Commanders in a civilian vessel without Sri Lanka Navy involvement. Maj. Gen. Henricsson will be on board the ferry on Saturday when the LTTE will be sending Acting Commanders to Eastern districts and transport Col. Sornam, the Trincomalee Commander of the LTTE and Col. Bhanu, the Batticaloa Commander to Mullaithivu.

The Tigers have requested Norwegian facilitators to suggest a new date for the talks in Geneva, LTTE's Political Head Mr. S.P.Thamilchelvan told the press in Kilinochchi Thursday at 2:00 p.m.

The Eastern Commanders of the LTTE will travel back a week later, with the same procedure, LTTE sources in Kilinochchi said.

The Head of SLMM, who met with the Political Head of the Liberation Tigers Thursday in Kilinochchi submitted his latest suggestions involving his physical presence in the civilian ferry with ten other SLMM monitors without Sri Lanka Navy personnel on board.

"The Government of Sri Lanka, adopting a hardline stance on the ground and attempting to portray a different version to the International Community, would not be allowed to scuttle the reputation of Tigers," Mr. Thamilchelvan told the press.

"We are very well aware which party does not wish to take part in Geneva Talks," he further said.

The stalemate worsened Wednesday as Sri Lanka Naval Command ordered around 20 Dvora Fast Attack Crafts to patrol in the Eastern Seas.

Well informed sources in Colombo said that the Norwegian facilitators, who received green light from GoSL to consider a move to hire a Sri Lankan commercial aircraft and facilitate the travel of Eastern LTTE commanders, stood pre-empted when they contacted private aircraft providers as Sri Lankan officials had already requested the private owners not to support the move.

"The GoSL tactic was to make LTTE cancel the participation in Geneva Talks as advisors to the Sri Lankan President had concluded that the GoSL participation of talks in Geneva would further expose Colombo's lack of integrity," a commentator attached to an independent think tank in Colombo said.

Despite the routing of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), the extreme Sinhala nationalist ally of the ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA), in the recent local elections, Colombo continued to cite the "hardliners" as a convenient excuse towards the facilitators, the commentator further said.

 

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