The Government assured Parliament yesterday it was taking all necessary measures to create a conducive atmosphere to restart the Geneva talks and wanted the LTTE to respond positively.
Making a special statement, Leader of the House Nimal Siripala de Silva urged the LTTE to stop attacks on the security forces and civilians and respond positively to Government`s demonstration of flexibility by providing transport facilities to the LTTE cadres.
The Tigers had requested helicopter transport on March 20 for six of its members from Batticaloa to Kilinochchi and for another six from Trincomalee to Kilinochchi.Mr. de Silva said that the Government`s policy on theatre-to-theatre transport of LTTE cadres was conveyed to the SLMM after the assassination of former Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar.
The Government had said it would provide helicopter transport for senior LTTE cadres to travel to the airport for peace related overseas travels, but not for theatre-to-theatre transfers of leaders. However, the Government provided several alternatives such as escorted surface transport, a Navy ferry and the option of a civilian ferry, he said.
He said on April 15, the LTTE requested that 16 members be transferred from Batticaloa to Mullaitivu and another 16 from Trincomalee to the same location and an equal number of members from Mullaitivu be brought as replacements.
?The LTTE unilaterally aborted the sea movement arrangement on flimsy excuses,? he said.
The Government is now making arrangements with the Civil Aviation Authority in consultation with the Air Force to prepare a safe flight path for a civilian seaplane. The LTTE had responded to the Government`s offer of seaplane transport facilities with a list of preferred landing sites.
He said the inspection team from SriLankan Airlines along with the SLMM were scheduled to visit the locations for depth-checks as required by safety regulations. ?We hope that at least on this occasion, the LTTE will act responsibly and agree to use this mode of transport,? he said.
He said that the Government was hopeful the LTTE would not come up with excuses to delay the proposed air movement and subsequent participation in the Geneva talks.?We urge the TNA parliamentarians who are here to represent the interests of the Tamil people to exert whatever influence it has on the LTTE to bring it to the negotiation table,? he said.
Tiger claims dismissed
By Sunil Jayasiri
The government yesterday dismissed the LTTE`s latest claims that the north and east environment is not conducive for talks.
Speaking to the media, Defence Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukkwella said ?it is the LTTE, who is responsible for escalating violence in the North and East, this complaint must go to the LTTE not to the government?.
He said that Japanese Special Envoy Yashushi Akashi had informed the government about the LTTE latest `statements` on the peace process after meeting with LTTE`s political Head S.P. Thamilchelvan. ?As part of the government that is beyond our control because the current situation had been created by the LTTE themselves?. He however said that government had to take some `deterrent actions` to safeguard the integrity of the country and said: ?We have not taken any offensive action?. ?With regard to this escalation of violence, the national security would not be compromised and it will be held at the supreme level?, he claimed.
He also charged the LTTE for escalating violence since April 7 up to date and said: ?We don`t see any positive thing coming down from that end (Kilinochchi)?. The minister also said throughout the recent past, the government ?use the tool of tolerance to make Geneva 2 a reality?, and said that it is up to the LTTE to de-escalate the violence and get back to the negotiating table. He said that ?the doors will be opened for the LTTE to come back for the talks as the Government is ready at any time to meet them?.
Minister Rambukkwella also reiterated the necessity of the international community, Co-chairs and Norwegian facilitators to push maximum pressure on the LTTE to bring them to the table.