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LTTE keen on talks to 'fix' Sri Lankan Govt

It is said that the rebel group is trying to find excuses to avoid talks with the Sri Lankan government, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Feb 06, 2006 12:40 IST

Contrary to the general impression that the LTTE is trying to find excuses to avoid going for talks with the Sri Lankan government, the rebel outfit is actually quite keen on having the talks, says a Tamil MP who met the LTTE's political leadership in Kilinochchi on Saturday.

The MP, who did not want to he named, told Hindustan Times that the LTTE believed that it would be able to "fix" the government on a number of critical issues relating to the implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA), the subject matter of the talks to be held in Geneva at the end of February.

The MP said that the LTTE was very agitated about the kidnapping of ten personnel of the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) by the breakaway Karuna group which it believed, was acting as a "Tamil paramilitary" of the Sri Lankan security forces.

The LTTE was also very angry about the killing of one of its senior military leaders, Maj Kapilan.

And sure enough, LTTE's leaders like Peace Secretariat chief Pulidevan had hinted that the kidnapping of the innocent aid workers might lead to a boycott of the Geneva talks. The pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance (TNA) had also said so.

But in reality, the LTTE was keen on going for the talks because these very issues could be highlighted in full view of the international community at Geneva, the MP said.

The LTTE would definitely raise some long standing issues such as the activities of the Tamil paramilitaries; the conduct of offensive operations by undercover Sri Lankan army units, and non-vacation of public and private places in the Jaffna peninsula by the Sri Lankan armed forces.

The LTTE says that the government has not fulfilled the provisions relating to these in the CFA, though four years have elapsed since it was signed in February 2002.

As per the CFA, the government has to disarm or relocate the Tamil paramilitaries, stop the work of deep penetration units, and vacate public and private spaces in Jaffna.

The LTTE believes that the government will have a tough time defending its actions or inaction. It hopes to use the international forum to expose the government's insincerity, the MP said.

The kidnapping of the TRO staff and other rehabilitation workers by unidentified Tamil men in late January would buttress the LTTE's case, particularly because the US and UN have both condemned the act. Both have called for speedy governmental investigations and the release of the hostages, who are described as aid workers.

The government has dubbed the allegations of abduction as lacking in credibility because complaints about them had not been lodged soon enough. It has also said that it has nothing to do with Karuna's group, the alleged abductors. It denies that it has any "Tamil paramilitaries".

But the TRO has said in its releases that complaints were made within a reasonable time frame. The LTTE's case, based on the reports of two released hostages, is that the abductions were conducted by the pro-government Karuna group and that the hostages were taken to Thivuchenai, a place near Welikanda, which serves as the Karuna group's base.

First Published: Feb 05, 2006 17:22 IST