V.S. Sambandan

Future steps after receiving replies from Rajapakse, Prabakaran

COLOMBO: Norway, the facilitator for the Sri Lankan peace process on Friday held the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) responsible for the failure of the scheduled Oslo talks.

In an "unprecendented move," Oslo also sought written replies from President Mahinda Rajapakse and the LTTE leader, V. Prabakaran, to five critical questions that would define the prospects of conflict resolution.

Direct indictment

In a direct indictment of the LTTE, Oslo said the Tigers had arrived in Oslo after accepting its invitation and had subsequently "raised objections to the previously communicated intentions and modalities for the meeting. This was the reason for the meeting not being held.''

The first of the five queries posed by Oslo to Mr. Rajapakse and Mr. Prabakaran is whether they "stand committed" to the February 2002 ceasefire agreement.

Security for monitors

The other questions are if the two parties "want the continued existence and operation" of the SLMM, whether they would be able to provide "full security guarantees" for the monitors, employees and physical assets of the SLMM "in all situations," whether they accept amendments to the CFA (relating to the composition of the body) to "enable the continued functioning of the SLMM at the operational level and their willingness to provide full security guarantee" for the current SLMM personnel and assets during a six-month transition period in case of changes in the composition of the monitoring body.

The responses by the Government and the LTTE to these questions would determine the further steps to be taken by Oslo and the SLMM, the Norwegian statement said.

On the LTTE's objection to the presence of members from the E.U., Oslo said, "at present, 37 out of 57 monitors originate from these countries."