Trinco-Batticaloa highway to reopen

[TamilNet, Monday, 05 August 2002, 12:47 GMT]
The A15 highway between Batticaloa and Trincomalee is to be reopened for public use following discussions between representatives of the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers, Tamil press reports said Monday. A significant portion of the 132 km long road is under the control of the LTTE.

An agreement to reopen the A15 was reached in a meeting between LTTE and Sri Lankan government representatives held in Mutur on Saturday, the Thinakural and Suder Oli newspapers reported Monday.

The government was represented by Abdullah Mohamed Maharooff Mohamed, Trincomalee MP from the ruling United National Party (UNP) and Alisahir Moulana, counsellor for the Ministry of Plan Implementation and Policy Making. The LTTE was represented by senior officials from its political wing, Mr. Tilak and Mr. Ruban.

The opening of the A15 is another step towards restoring links between the war-torn north and east with the rest of the island following the signing of a landmark ceasefire agreement between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government.

In April, the A9 highway which runs from Kandy in the island's centre to the northern Jaffna peninsula was opened for public use. The road was the site and objective of pitched battles from 1997 to 1999. The LTTE controls the A9 from just north of the Sri Lanka Army garrison town of Vavuniya to Muhamalai midway along the Jaffna peninsula.

Last month, LTTE and Sri Lankan military officials in the eastern province participated in the opening of the A5, which is mostly controlled by the LTTE.

The A5 is one of the oldest highways in the island, the main road link between the east coast and the central hills of the island. Mr. Moulana, an ex-UNP MP for Batticaloa, said ahead of the A5 opening that there was broad agreement between both sides on allowing public traffic through closed routes.


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