'Annan affair has sullied Govt's image'
By stopping the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan from going to the LTTE-controlled areas, the Sri Lankan government has got very bad publicity abroad, says the LTTE.
"The international press and electronic media have given wide publicity to UN officials, saying that Annan wanted to visit the LTTE-controlled areas but he was prevented from doing so by the Sri Lankan government. The losers in this episode are not the LTTE but the Sri Lankan government. It is the Sri Lankan government, which has acquired a bad image abroad and not the LTTE," said Pulithevan, the LTTE's top relief official.
He told Hindustan Times in Colombo on Sunday that he was not planning to meet the US Secretary General to complain about this issue.
"The leaders of the Tamil National Alliance have already met him and briefed him about it and also the discrimination against the Tamils in relief distribution," Pulithevan said.
According to him, only one Government truck has reached Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu so far.
About the charge that the LTTE was grabbing the relief material sent by the Government and distributing them as its own, Pulithevan said that UN officials were stationed in Mullaitivu and anybody could check with them.
Pulithevan charged that because of the takeover of relief centres by the Sri Lankan Army, Tamil refugees were leaving these camps. "This is happening in Trincomalee," he said.
But the lack of government relief was not creating a shortage in the LTTE-controlled areas, Pulithevan said. International agencies like WFP and FARUT, and NGOs like the LTTE's own Tamil Rehabiitation Organisation, were providing adequate relief, he said.