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SL refutes LTTE's view on naval escort

Differences have surfaced between SL Govt and LTTE over transportation of its leaders, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Apr 15, 2006 20:53 IST

The Sri Lankan government on Saturday refuted the LTTE's contention that there was no provision in its agreement with the Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission (SLMM) for naval escort for the ship ferrying its commanders between the Eastern and Northern sectors.

A government statement said that on April 14, both the government and the LTTE had agreed to an SLMM document stating the conditions governing the transport of the Commanders and other cadres.

And this document had clearly stated that the civilian vessel to the used by the LTTE, would be having a Sri Lankan naval escort with SLMM monitors on board the naval vessels.

"The SLMM instructions state that two SLMM monitors will be on board SLN (Sri Lankan Navy) ships following the movement. It is therefore clearly established that in terms of the arrangements the SLMM will escort the civilian ferry," the government said.

The LTTE on Saturday aborted the sea movement objecting to the presence of Sri Lankan naval gun boats in the vicinity of the Mullaitivu ferry, and their giving instructions to the crew of the civilian vessel which was to ferry its commanders and cadres.

The government said that the LTTE was demonstrating a "lack of serious commitment" by finding at every turn excuses to delay the talks at Geneva.

"This is another case in point in a series that has been used to further delay participation in talks," the government statement said.

Committing itself to the Geneva talks fixed for April 24 and 25, the government said that it had demonstrated "extreme restraint" in the face of serious provocations "in the interest of giving the peace process every chance of success."

First Published: Apr 15, 2006 16:08 IST