seeks to confine Navy
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The head of
truce monitors wants the Sri Lanka Navy to confine its exercises,
particularly live firing, to specified areas at sea. He also wants
to carve out separate areas for Sea Tigers for training and live
firing after repeating his earlier call to recognize them as a "de
facto naval unit."
or inspections of Sea Tiger vessels will be permitted for the Sri
Lanka Navy in these carved out areas without SLMM monitors. In effect,
for the Sri Lanka Navy, these areas will be “no go”
zones unless the monitors are with them.
Maj. Gen. Triggve Tellefsen's latest recommendations are contained
in what he calls "adjusted proposals," the contents of
which are more controversial than his original "Initial Discussion
Paper," now at the centre of a national debate.
The call to
restrict exercises by a sovereign nation's Navy tasked to protect
the country's territorial integrity raises serious questions on
whether the SLMM chief has the mandate to make such a recommendation.
Such a call, in accordance with the Constitution and other laws
of the land, could be made legally only by the President who is
Commander-in-Chief, the Minister of Defence, the Commander of the
Navy or those in the subordinate command authorized by them.
document is accompanied by a map clearly marking out areas in the
western and eastern territorial waters where Sea Tigers should be
allowed to conduct exercises and live firing.
In the western
territorial waters, the marked out area extends five nautical miles
from the shore, from south of Karativu (near Pooneryn) to near Velankulam,
further north of Vidutaltivu. In the east, it also extends five
nautical miles, southwards of Mulliyan (east of Elephant Pass) to
Mullaitivu. This is for training exercises at sea.
An area off the shores of Mullaitivu, extending eight nautical miles
from the shore, has been marked out for live firing exercises.
In his Initial
Discussion Paper, Maj. Gen. Tellefsen only called for the recognition
of the Sea Tigers as a "de facto naval unit" and said
that Tiger guerrillas should be excluded from the law concerning
limitations on outboard motors. If accepted, this would allow them
to use boats of any capacity.
the adjusted proposals, the SLMM chief has argued that during the
Ceasefire Agreement the Sea Tigers existed as a de facto naval unit
and quotes the Advanced Oxford Dictionary definition to support
to exercise and training areas, his proposals make clear that the
Navy "must confine their exercises; especially live firing
exercises, to specified exercises and training areas." He adds,
"The LTTE Sea Tigers should be allocated exercise and training
areas at sea, designed for navigation training and for live firing
exercises as well."
If the proposals
contained in Maj. Gen. (retd) Tellefsen's original Initial Discussion
Paper impinged on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri
Lanka, his latest adjusted proposals compounds the situation further.
See Situation Report by Iqbal Athas
for a detailed account.