NATIONAL

LTTE begins talks with Tamil leaders on counter-proposals

COLOMBO Oct. 22. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam today commenced a series of meetings with Tamil political leaders before submitting its "counter-proposals" to the Sri Lankan Government on October 31.

Today's meeting with the members of the four-party Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which won the last parliamentary election on the plank that the Sri Lankan Government should hold talks with the Tigers as the sole representatives for finding a negotiated settlement, is to be followed by meetings with the two political leaders of the Indian-origin Tamils, Arumugan Thondaman and P. Chandresekaran.

The meeting with the TNA was described by the Tigers as one that "centred on the interim administration proposals and the current political situation''. The LTTE, which rejected offers by the Government for a development-oriented structure as an interim administration for the northeast, has said it will submit its counter-proposals on October 31 through the Norwegian facilitators.

Significantly, the LTTE has not called for a meeting with the Muslim political leadership. The issue of the inclusion of a separate Muslim delegation at the talks is one of the unresolved issues since the latest negotiation process commenced last September.

Opposition welcomes India's stand

Sri Lanka's main Opposition, the People's Alliance, today welcomed the Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe's recent visit to India. The PA, which has been critical of the Government's approach in the current peace process, welcomed India's position as outlined in the statement after Mr. Wickremesinghe's visit, which linked the interim administration to the final settlement within the unity and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka.

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