Sri Lankan Govt under fire from LTTE
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Sri Lankan Govt under fire from LTTE

LTTE has warned that Govt's claim on the truce pact will undermine peace process, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Mar 02, 2006 15:23 IST

The Sri Lankan government's claim that the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) was amended at the recent Geneva talks will "seriously undermine" the peace process, the LTTE has warned.

"These attempts to distort and misinterpret the joint statement issued by the parties after the Geneva talks, will damage mutual trust and seriously undermine the peace process," said the LTTE's chief negotiator, Anton Balasingham, in an interview to Tamilnet.

HL De Silva, the legal expert in the Sri Lankan delegation at the talks, has been telling the media here that the CFA was amended at Geneva, in as much as, new obligations had been undertaken by the two parties.

But the LTTE's contention has been that the CFA will have to be accepted in toto and any talks can only be on its "proper implementation".

After the Geneva talks Balasingham said that the Sri Lankan government had indeed accepted the CFA "in toto".

But back in Colombo, HS De Silva and the leader of the delegation, Nimala Sripala De Silva, said that the new obligations accepted at Geneva were, in effect, amendments to the CFA.

Retorting angrily from London, Balasingham said that HL De Silva's contentions were "untenable, ludicrous and seriously flawed" besides breaking "mutual trust" which was essential to keep the peace process going.

Balasingham pointed out that during the six rounds of talks between the LTTE and the Ranil Wickremesinghe government in 2002-2003, many undertakings were given by both the parties. But these undertakings were within the conceptual framework of the 2002 CFA. They were not amendments as such.

"Amending the clauses of the CFA is a very serious matter, which needs the approval of the parties in conflict, the facilitating government (Norway) and the signatures of the President of Sri Lanka, the leader of the LTTE, and the Norwegian Foreign Minister," Balasingham said.

Expressing surprise that an eminent lawyer like HL De Silva had taken the Geneva Agreement so "superficially", the LTTE's chief negotiator said that the only conclusion he could come to was that De Silva's intervention was motivated by a desire to "placate Sinhala hardliners" who did not recognize the CFA of 2002.

Meanwhile, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has decided to hold an all party conference next Monday as part of his plan to keep major Sri Lankan parties briefed about the peace process and the deliberations and decisions taken at the talks with the LTTE held in Geneva on February 22 and 23.

First Published: Mar 02, 2006 15:23 IST