No political agendas Mr. Monitor
"Been there; done it before ' may be one way to sum up the LTTE's latest refusal to come to the negotiating table. To the extent of being boring and repetitive, we say that, constantly it has been our unpleasant task to ask whether , the LTTE's chief negotiator Anton Balasingham is, in fact, actually in charge and whether there is any purpose served in negotiating with him.

The LTTE, in turn would ask whether it is worth negotiating with the UNF Government if the opposition and the people will ultimately reject whatever is agreed upon. That is not quite the same though of negotiating with someone who really is but a puppet-on-a-string with the puppeteer in a Kilinochchi bunker. Yes, we know that Mr Balasingham did say at that press conference in Kilinochchi last year that he and his leader Velupillai Prabhakaran speak en-voce. And we know that this is not so.

Back in 1995, Mr. Balasingham, like anyone else in the rest of the country, was taken by total surprise when his leader sank the peace talks Mr Balasingham was thoroughly engaged-in, by sinking a naval craft at the Trincomalee harbour.

This time is no different, except that Mr. Balasingham knew to the extent that he was asked to do what he calls was the "painful" task of carrying out the fiat from his leader and suspend talks.

If this is LTTE pique at not being invited to the US aid group meeting last week, it is no different and extraneous a reason to what they said when they kicked the table back in 1995. They said, then, that the Colombo Government did not send a senior-enough delegation for the talks.

Surely, the 'level' of any delegation is a matter for that delegation, as much as inviting anyone for a seminar in one's capital is a matter for that Government. What in fact has happened is that this terrorist organisation has been permitted to make-believe that the whole world is afraid of their suicide-bombs, their Sea Tigers, and are wooing them silly, on bended knees, pleading with them to end the civil war. The procession of local and foreign dignitaries, the fawning and the tread-with-care approach seems some how to have got the better of their judgment. And who can blame them.

The Government in Colombo, we hope, will not fall for this bluff. By conceding more and more without winning any concessions in return, the sleeping Opposition in the country has been aroused. Permitting the Norwegian go-betweens to make the preposterous proposition that the Sea Tigers be recognised because they are de-facto in-situ does not help win public opinion in the country, or for that matter in our neighbourhood.

The Norwegian-led SLMM has now amended this suggestion of theirs, but in the process have gone and put both their feet in its big mouth. They have issued a press release, quoting the Oxford English dictionary and all that, which is nothing but another ham-handed approach to the politics of a sovereign State. They have had the audacity to say,

".... SLMM fully supports a fully constructive democratic debate on issues of National concern. However, discourages the behaviour of internationally misinterpreting matters of sensitive nature and taking them out-of-context in order to further a specific politicl agenda."

This is naivety at its dangerous zenith, which begs the question, whether the Norwegians are fit for the job at hand. Who are these Norwegians of retired major-generals to now start pontificating on political issues and to encourage or discourage "specific political agendas" and the like in this country?

Make no mistake, Maj-Gen. Tryggve Tellefsen, you are here only to monitor the ceasefire; not to concern yourself about discouraging anyone's political agendas.
You are certainly not doing the Government a favour by your utterances.

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