|New peace moves
Govt-LTTE in talks quandary
Norwegian facilitators anticipated Colombo’s response to an
apparent peace overture by the LTTE yesterday, but
representatives of both sides played down their faith in the new
moves to get them back to the negotiating table.
The LTTE decision to release NCPA policeman Bandujeewa
Weerasinghe Bopitigoda left the government in a quandary, after
Norway claimed that it had been a gesture of goodwill on the
part of the Tigers to kick-start the stalled peace bid,
Diplomatic sources told The Nation that the government believes
that the LTTE only makes peace overtures when they are
militarily weak. According to these sources, the government
believes it will have problems convincing the armed forces of
the LTTE’s bona fides now, especially after the Tigers’ military
losses in the recent fighting.
Government Defence Spokesman, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella
commenting the release of Sub Inspector Bandujeewa Bopitigoda
said the government was not excited about the release. “The LTTE
should have released him a long time back since there have been
many requests to do so,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, the LTTE has ruled out direct dialogue with the
government at the moment. LTTE Media Spokesman Daya Master told
The Nation the release of the Sri Lankan policeman was only a
goodwill gesture and did not mean they were ready for talks
while the government continued to launch military attacks on
“As it is, the ground condition is not fit for talks. The roads
are blocked and our people are put into untold hardships. The
troops continue to hit us. Therefore we will not enter into any
direct talks with the government,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission outgoing Head Ulf
Henricsson and new Head of Mission, Major General Lars Johan
Sølvberg paid a courtesy visit on LTTE Political Wing Leader S.P.
Tamilselvan and other Tiger leaders in Kilinochchi on Friday
(25). SLMM Spokesman Thofinnur Omarsson told The Nation that the
decision to free the policemen had followed a request made by
Henricsson for a goodwill-gesture.