Thursday, April 06, 2006

Col. Karuna tops the list of LTTE and Norway

Col. Karuna is now on the top of the list of agenda of the LTTE and Norway. Both are putting pressure on the Sri Lankan government to disarm Karuna, former No: 2 LTTE leader and presently the leader of the TamilEela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP). Initially, when Karuna broke away from the LTTE in March 2004, the LTTE dismissed it as an "internal affair". Their attempts to control Col. Karuna has failed since then. Their next move has been to get the Sri Lankan government to disarm Col. Karuna's group entrenched in the east.

Yesterday when S.P Tamilselvan, Head of the LTTE Political Wing, met the new Norwegian envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer at the Peace Secretariat in Killinochchi, Karuna figured prominently in their discussions.

Tamilselvan launched a personal attack on the leader of the TMVP when he met the reporters at Kilinochchi later.

He said : "Karuna is despised by the Tamil people"

He added : "The military is making use of Karuna as an agent to carry out abductions, killings, torture, extortion and various acts of violence against the civilian population with a view to create dissent."

However, Hagrup Haukland, the head of the Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission, told a Sri Lankan newspaper before he left that there is no evidence to link the Sri Lankan army to the "paramilitaries".

Tamilselvan met both Hanssen Bauer visited Kilinochchi accompanied by Ambassador Hans Bratskar. Tamilselvan briefed the Norwegian team on the current political situation in the backdrop of Geneva talks and expressed concern and disappointment over non-fulfilment of government pledges relating to the activities of the para-military groups in the government-controlled parts of the east.

Tamilselvan said, "Our expectations were very high when the government delegation pledged in Geneva to end para-military activities and we are totally disappointed now over the accelerated pace of para-military violence in open violation of both the CFA and the Geneva agreement."

"Expression of good will through demonstration of the intent to bring about normalcy in the life of the Tamil people living under military occupation and para-military threat is a matter that the government need to seriously address to build confidence and make progress in the process" emphasized Tamilselvan requesting the facilitators to convey this concern to the Government.

" There is limited time for the government to prove they are genuine before the next round of talks and their good will," he said.

"The decisions and implementation in the next few days would decide the next round of talks," he added. The rebels have said they will likely attend talks on April 19-21 in Geneva, but have warned there will be no progress without active disarmament.

In the meantime, Hanssen-Bauer, a peace adviser at Norway's Ministry of Foreign Affairs who has taken over day-to-day oversight of the peace process from Norwegian International Development Minister Erik Solheim, said the onus was on the Tigers and the government to make the talks work.

"It's up to the parties to make use of the possibilities in Geneva . We cannot define the content nor how it would happen," Hanssen-Bauer said before leaving the northern rebel stronghold of Kilinochchi. "I think both parties realise that peace is on the way."

The delegation assured that these matters would be conveyed to the president in their meeting with him tomorrow.

In the meantime, Hanssen-Bauer met Minister of Healthcare and Nutrition Nimal Siripala de Silva, who was the Sri lanka Government’s chief spokesperson on the Geneva talks, on 04. Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva reiterated that the Sri Lankan Government has taken all possible steps to fulfill the decisions arrived at the first round of talks held last month between the Government and the LTTE in Geneva.

Minister expressed Government's commitments towards the peace process when he met the new Norwegian Special Envoy Jon Hanssen Bauer on Monday at his Ministry.

The new Norwegian envoy told the Minister that he looks forward for the active support and cooperation of both the parties involved to make this talks success and expressed the hope that he would be able to accomplish the responsibilities bestowed on him to highest satisfaction of the parties involved.

Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said that the Sri Lankan Government has taken all possible measures to fulfill the decisions arrived at the first round of talks held last month in Geneva. The Minister apprised the new envoy of the steps taken by the Government to continue the peace process in an atmosphere conducive and beneficial to all communities in the country.

The Minister also explained him the details of the discussion held with the Swiss Ambassador , the host to the two delegations in Geneva. They met last week to finalize the arrangements for the second round of talks scheduled to be held in Geneva in the third week of April.

The Minister said that there was no change in the stance of the Government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa in resolving the ethnic problem through a negotiated settlement. He also said that the victory in the recently concluded elections to local Government authorities has brought more strength and courage to the Government to carry forward its policies and programmes for peace under Mahinda Chinthanaya in more pragmatic way.

Ambassador of Norway Sri Lanka Hans Brattska was also associated at this discussion.


Two paramilitary cadres wounded in Panichchankerni

Two Karuna Group paramilitary cadres were wounded in Panichchankerni, 60 km north of Batticaloa, Wednesday around 5:30 p.m., when Liberation Tigers launched a counter-attack on the paramilitary cadres penetrating into the Liberation Tigers controlled area, eyewitnesses said. A key paramilitary operative, Chooty, wounded in his stomach was transported to the Kirimichchai SLA camp in a motorbike which the withdrawing paramilitary cadres hijacked from a civilian traveller.

Later, the civilian owner of the motorbike managed to recover his vehicle near the Kirimichchai Sri Lanka Army camp, eyewitnesses further said.

The withdrawing paramilitary cadres, wearing military fatigues, were seen 75 meters close to the Kirimichchai SLA camp by the eyewitnesses.

The retreating group was armed with mortars and automatic-rifles, the sources said.

Panichchankerni is a village in the LTTE controlled region in Batticaloa north.