|Friday, 12 November 2004|
|Security||Today's Top Story|
by E. Weerapperuma
High expectations of journalists at the LTTE Peace secretariat in Kilinochchi were shattered with the announcement that a request of the Norwegian delegation who held talks with the LTTE had wanted them not to divulge any information to the media about the discussions yesterday in the Wanni and the formula handed over by the LTTE should be first handed over to President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga.
Media will be given the details at a later date.
LTTE theoretician Dr. Anton Balasingham told the media he could not give a specific date and said the Norwegians will be a "bit busy" with the demise of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
The Norwegian delegation consisted Norwegian Foreign Minister Jan Petersen, Deputy Foreign Minister Vidar Helgesen, special envoy Eric Solheim and Ambassador Hans Brattskar.
LTTE leader V. Prabhakaran, Anton Balasinghem and S. P. Thamilselvam were also present during discussions with the Norwegians. Foreign and local media were present at the Peace secretariat from early yesterday to hear the outcome of the discussion.
Addressing the media, after the meeting with the Norwegians, Balasingham said there was an assumption that President Kumaratunga sent a special message to the LTTE Leadership through the Norwegian facilitator.
"There is nothing new in her message. She had repeated the old position. That is any interim arrangement should be an integral part of an overall settlement. That is what she has been telling so this is not new to us. At the same time, we have discussed various aspects," he said.
"As to why we are suggesting a discussion on the interim arrangement, is because we have been discussing issues pertaining to a permanent settlement for the last 50 years." he said.
"We have participated in several discussions and several places at several times and we have come to various agreements and pacts, which were later abrogated.
What we have suggested is that we want this internal or Provisional arrangement to address urgent humanitarian issues of our people. Over a million people are displaced and face enormous suffering for the last two years as nothing has happened.
"We want the Government to address these issues immediately, to engage in a negotiating process to find a permanent settlement and that can take place after setting up of a provisional arrangement, to address these issues," he said.
"That is our stand. The Norwegians asked us if we have any message to convey to the President and we suggested a formula and that will be taken up with the President.
"They will let us know what her response is until such time the Norwegians wanted us not to reveal our suggestions to the press," he said.
He said the Norwegians were making a genuine effort to see the feasibility of resuming the negotiations. Referring to the past two years, Balasingham said peace has prevailed during the past two years.
"I would say the only concrete thing that has happened was the signing of the ceasefire agreement. The ceasefire agreement is holding for nearly three years and there is no major ceasefire violation and no major arm confrontations," he said.
Balasingham said there was nothing called the Oslo Declaration but there is a Tokyo declaration.
The Norwegian Government issued a statement after the peace negotiations session in Oslo. That is what is referred to as the Oslo declaration but in actual fact it is not a declaration. It is a press statement. That was a statement issued by the Norwegian Government where both parties will explore a federal model," he said.
Balasingham said the parties concerned would sign every statement issued by the Norwegian Government signed by the chief negotiators and as well as by the parties concerned.
He said the LTTE was ready to discuss how best the ISGA proposal could be implemented as there was different views in the South to say that it should be done by amending the constitution or implementing it outside of the constitution.
He said there was no need for an Indo-Sri Lanka Defence Treaty.
He said the LTTE has given its views to India in respect of providing training and arms and amunitions.
He said the Tamil Nadu state has protested over the singing of the treaty.
Produced by Lake House