The government has again denied the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) access to Jaffna`s Muhamalai, where heavy fighting raged during the past few days killing hundreds of troops and Tiger cadres.
During a 45-minute long weekly routine meeting held on Friday evening, the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process led by its head Dr. Palitha Kohona had however assured the monitors that they will do their best to grant access to the SLMM to Muhamalai soon.
`The government`s refusal to grant SLMM access to Muhamalai was taken up at Friday`s meeting. Although they had informed us that they arenot ready to give us access to the site of the incidents in Muhamalai, the Secretariat did responded positively to a certain extent saying that it will try to do something as soon as possible to accommodate our requests and grant us access to the Muhamalai,` the Mission`s spokesman Thorfinnur Omarsson told the Asian Tribune.
When queried as to why the government refused the monitors` access to Muhamalai, Omarsson said, `We don`t know, you will have to ask them.`
The spokesman pointed out that denying SLMM access to an area of incident `is not a very good thing.` The government also denied the Monitors access during the incident at the Army Headquarters when a LTTE suicide bomber attempted to assassinate Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka by blowing herself up at the headquarters in April this year.
SCOPP was however unavailable for comment. The SLMM was represented by its head Lars Sølvberg, Mr. Omarsson, Paul Bjerke and Helen Olafsdottir at the meeting.
Both parties suffered heavy causalities during fighting in Muhamalai last week with security forces losing 129 soldiers, and the LTTE reportedly losing more than 200 of its cadres.