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No talks while killings continue: LTTE

The LTTE's stand is significant in the context of Japanese envoy's visit to Sri Lanka, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: May 06, 2006 13:27 IST

The LTTE has said that there can be no peace talks with the Sri Lankan government so long as killings continue in the Tamil-speaking North Eastern part of the island country.

"There is no question of going for talks so long as the killings continue," the LTTE's media spokesman, Thaya Master, told Hindustan Times over phone from Kilinochchi on Saturday.

The LTTE's stand is significant in the context of the visit of the Japanese Peace Envoy Yasushi Akashi to Sri Lanka beginning on Saturday.

Akashi would be going to Kilinochchi for talks with the LTTE's political leadership on May 9.

The LTTE and the government are blaming each other for the killings, which have become a daily affair in the North East.

The LTTE says that between February and April, 103 Tamils were killed, allegedly by the "Tamil paramilitary groups" of the Sri Lankan armed forces, for the most part.

But the government says that most of the killings were done by the LTTE, many of the victims being members of the armed forces.

According to Daily Mirror in April alone, 200 government troops and civilians were killed in the LTTE's terrorist acts.

No decision on transport issue yet

LTTE spokesman Thaya Master denied a news report that his organisation had rejected the government's offer of sea planes to enable its senior commanders to commute between the Eastern and Northern sectors for consultations ahead of the peace talks.

"No decision has been taken on this issue," he said.

"At any rate, any decision on this will be conveyed only through Norway, the facilitators," he added.

The Sri Lankan government had offered two sea planes of the state-owned Sri Lankan Airlines.

The government spokesman, Keheliya Rambukwella, had said earlier this week that the feedback from the LTTE on this issue was "favourable"

Rambukwella said that the government was "optimistic" about the second round of talks taking place in Geneva because the issue of the "capacity" of the air transport to be provided by the government was the only outstanding issue, and even that issue was likely to be sorted out.