|Friday, 9 January 2004|
SLMM says Ceasefire stands
by Ranga Jayasuriya
Scandinavian truce monitors said yesterday that the Ceasefire Agreement stands in spite of the Prime Minister's speech at a public rally on Wednesday relieving himself of the responsibilities of the truce agreement.
"There is no change in the SLMM's role. We haven't got any new orders (following the Prime Minister's announcement) and the Ceasefire stands," SLMM acting chief Hagrup Haukland told the Daily News. Haukland declined to comment whether Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's speech at a public rally in Paduwasnuwara amounts to a formal announcement.
The Prime Minister addressing the rally said he cannot carry on the peace process without the Defence, Interior and Media ministries and called upon the President to re-negotiate or enter into a fresh agreement with the LTTE, if she wishes to keep the three ministries under her.
According to Article 4.4 of the truce agreement either party wishing to withdraw from the Ceasefire Agreement should inform the Royal Norwegian Government 14 days before the date of termination.
Norwegian Ambassador Hans Brattskar could not be reached for a comment on whether the peace facilitators have received any formal announcement of the withdrawal from the truce agreement by the Prime Minister who signed the agreement with LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran nearly two years ago.
The truce agreement signed on February 21, 2002 has stood to date without any major hiccups.
However the withdrawal of one party from the Agreement will relive the other from its obligations to the agreement, which means a possible return to war.
On Wednesday, Norwegian Ambassador Hans Brattskar visiting Trincomalee to meet NGO officials in the area declined to comment on news reports of the Premier's announcement.
He however insisted on clarity in Southern politics for the peace negotiations to resume.
Produced by Lake House