Just days after displaying its air capabilities the LTTE has expressed willingness to resume peace talks with the government but has at the same time placed a pre-condition for such negotiations saying the now defunct Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) should be first fully implemented and future talks should be based on that agreement signed in 2002.
According to well informed sources the LTTE had conveyed this message to a Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) delegation at a meeting in Kilinochchi on Friday, the first meeting between the ceasefire monitors and the rebels since the LTTE air raid on the Katunayake air force base two weeks ago.
Acting SLMM head Jon Oskar Solnes led the SLMM delegation at the talks in Kilinochchi while the LTTE team was represented by the LTTE peace secretariat head S. Pulidevan. The meeting itself had no major significance as the SLMM had frequent meetings with the rebels and the government peace secretariat.
The government has yet to officially respond to the LTTE offer to resume talks but it comes even as the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) prepares to make the final draft for a lasting solution to the conflict with the SLFP announcing its proposals will be out on May 1.
However the LTTE had, at the meeting with the SLMM, warned of serious repercussions if military action by the government were to continue with almost weekly Air Force raids on rebel locations.
The SLMM has expressed alarm at the increase in civilian casualties and conveyed the message to the LTTE at Friday`s meeting while the same message was conveyed to the government Secretariat for Co-ordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) last week, the Daily Mirror learns.
The SLMM has meanwhile deployed a rapid response team (RRT) to Vavuniya where a claymore blast targeting a passenger bus resulted in civilian casualties.
The SLMM however has yet to be granted access to the Katunayake air force base to probe the LTTE air raid.The government has persistently said it would continue to take appropriate action to deal with any LTTE act seen as a threat to national security even if such government action was recorded as a violation of the CFA. The LTTE has said such government action had resulted in civilian casualties in rebel-controlled areas, a charge the government vehemently denies.