Truce monitors’ chopper request turned down
Scandinavian truce monitors said yesterday their request for a Sri Lanka Air Force helicopter to travel to the Wanni for a meeting with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has been turned down.
The monitors wanted a helicopter for SLMM chief Lars Johan Solvberg to visit Wanni for talks with the LTTE political wing leader S.P. Thamilselvan on the resumption of monitoring operations suspended more than a month ago.
SLMM spokesman T. Ommersson told The Sunday Times the request was made to the Government’s Peace Secretariat, but it was turned down with no reasons given.
The request was made following a meeting between the SLMM head and Peace Secretariat Chief Palitha Kohona.
The discussions were on the resumption of SLMM operations after the monitors re-grouped in Colombo suspending their operations in the Northern and Eastern Provinces.
The SLMM has been allowed access to all areas in the north and east, except the Muhamalai forward defences in Jaffna and Vakarai in the Batticaloa district.
Meanwhile two monitors yesterday went to the Batticaloa district where an estimated 7,000 displaced persons from Vakarai have arrived since the recapture of the area by the army on Friday.
The SLMM is operating with 34 monitors and except for four all others are due to be in the field in the north and east.