ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Vol. 41 - No 18

Govt. sets 3 conditions for talks

By Chris Kamalendran

Any future peace talks with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) will hinge on its leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, agreeing in writing or verbally to three major conditions, a Government spokesman said last night.

Defence Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella told The Sunday Times that the three conditions were:

  1. A specific time frame should be provided by the LTTE to resume and conclude peace talks.
  2. The LTTE should give an assurance to the international community and Donor Co-chairs of the peace process that it will not use sea routes to smuggle into Sri Lanka any military hardware.
  3. The LTTE should make a commitment that it would not resort to any violence during the period of the peace talks.

Mr. Rambukwella hinted that if the LTTE did not agree to these conditions of the Government, the dialogue with it would be at stake. This is when he said that "if they (the LTTE) don't pay heed, we will have to fall back on the process we have already set in motion - the All-Party Conference, the All-Party Representative Committee and the Panel of Experts - to formulate a settlement to the ethnic issue".

He said the Government would arrive at a formula after due consultation and implement it. This was becoming more salutary since there was increasing co-operation between the political parties now.

Commenting on the LTTE's offer of unconditional talks if the Government halted what it called its military offensive, Mr. Rambukwella said, "we have not resorted to any offensive action. The security forces are only defending themselves against the military actions of the LTTE."

He pointed out that a firm commitment must come from Mr. Prabhakaran and not from the LTTE's Political Wing leader S.P. Thamilselvan or others. "He (Mr. Thamilselvan) and the others have made pledges before but have gone back on them," he added.

conveyed to Norway's Special Envoy Jon Hanssen Bauer who arrives in Colombo today.

Mr. Bauer, who will be in Sri Lanka for a week is to hold talks beginning tomorrow with Government leaders. He is to fly to Kilinochchi on Tuesday. There he is expected to convey to the LTTE leadership the conditions placed by the Government and obtain a response.

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Copyright 2006 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.