Balasingham denies ‘irresponsible’ reports on Premier’s letter

[TamilNet, Friday, 02 May 2003, 10:54 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers’ Chief Negotiator and Political Advisor, Mr. Anton Balasingham, Friday flatly denied press reports that he had dismissed Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s response to the LTTE’s letter outlining its reasons for suspending Norwegian facilitated peace talks. Speaking to TamilNet on Friday, Mr. Balasingham described the reports in the Daily Mirror and Gulf News as “irresponsible journalism” based on “pure conjecture.”

The Daily Mirror Friday claimed Mr. Balasingham had “dismissed” Mr. Wickremesinghe’s letter and said the Premier had been “evasive” on key issues. A similar report, written by the editor of the Sunday Times - the Daily Mirror’s weekend sister paper – also appeared in the Gulf News.

The Daily Mirror and Gulf News quoted comments the LTTE’s Chief Negotiator was said to have made to the Tamil-language Sudar-Oli newspaper. But editorial staff at the Colombo-based paper strongly denied they had published reports attributing such comments to Mr. Balasingham.

“The Prime Minister’s response to our letter outlining our organisation’s rationale for suspending the talks is naturally an important document,” Mr. Balasingham told TamilNet Friday. He said the LTTE had received the letter on Tuesday.

“As it concerns several crucial issues related to the peace process, the letter requires careful study before our organisation responds,” Mr. Balasingham said.

“Furthermore, the LTTE leadership will meet in the coming days to discuss these and related matters,” Mr. Balasingham said, adding that he is returning to Vanni next week for the deliberations with senior political and military leaders.

Commenting on the press reports claiming he had already dismissed the Premier’s response, Mr. Balasingham said, “such inaccurate reports, based on nothing but pure conjecture, merely promote the vested interests of those opposed to the peace process.”

“But the peace process affects the well being of all of Sri Lanka’s peoples. Irresponsible journalism inevitably raises unnecessary rancour and undermines efforts at ethnic reconciliation and peace making,” he said.


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