B. Muralidhar Reddy

No scope for talks unless troops withdraw from Sampur: Tigers

COLOMBO: Amid reports of sporadic fighting between the Sri Lanka military and the Tamil Tigers, the LTTE said on Wednesday that with the capture of Sampur town in the east the 2002 Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) has "ended" and there was no scope for talks unless the troops returned to pre-CFA positions.

Response of Tamil Tigers to post-Sampur situation, spelt out for the first time, was articulated by the LTTE political head, S.P. Tamilselvan when the Norwegian Ambassador, Brattskar, and the new Deputy Ambassador, Laegreid, visited Kilinochchi during the day to exchange views on the current situation.

Asked to comment on the LTTE statements, the Government Defence spokesman and Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told The Hindu , "We have taken control of Sampur to neutralise threat to vital installations and assets in Trincomalee district. It certainly does not end the CFA. We believe that neutralisation of LTTE military base in Sampur could facilitate a more effective dialogue in a peaceful atmosphere".

At the meeting with the Norwegian envoys, according to TamilNet, Mr. Tamilselvan complained about "violence against the Tamil civilians perpetrated by the Sri Lankan military and the soft approach of the international community about it, the Sampur occupation and its consequences, and lastly, LTTE's readiness and desire to allow humanitarian essential supplies to Jaffna by land."

LTTE Peace Secretariat quoted Mr. Tamilselvan as saying that the onslaught by the Government to occupy Sampur was a clear violation of the CFA. "One of the basic requirements of the CFA is to respect the existing borders of control.

"The Sampur occupation clearly violates this and therefore by this occupation GoSL has brought an end to the CFA. This is how LTTE views the occupation", he said.

He accused the Government of putting the Tamil civilian population through absolute misery by the bombings and shelling and other forms of violence. "He warned that the Sinhala population will have to face the consequences soon.

He particularly emphasised the soft approach of the international community with regard to the absolute misery Tamil people are being subjected to at the hands of GoSL forces.

He said that the international community should not behave any differently when, as a consequence of GoSL action on Tamil people, Sinhala people face the same fate in the future", TamilNet said.

Mr. Tamilselvan has written to the ICRC to make arrangements for the land transport of humanitarian supply to Vanni and Jaffna, assuring that the LTTE will halt all attacks to ensure safe passage of the humanitarian supply by land.