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Response from Kilinochchi: 'LTTE will abide by MoU'

by S. Selvakumar

The LTTE will continue to abide by the ceasefire as provided for under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) despite Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's pronouncement concerning the MoU last week, an LTTE spokesman told the 'Sunday Observer'.

In the aftermath of a threat from Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that he would relieve himself from the ceasefire agreement signed with the LTTE, the LTTE on Saturday reiterated its earlier stand that under no circumstances would it violate the Ceasefire Agreement.

"We are also closely monitoring the situation of the South. We are only aware of the Prime Minister's speech at Panduwasnuwara about his intention in the event of his not getting back the three ministries taken away from the government but we have not been officially informed of any such move. Even if so such intimation should come to us through the Norwegian facilitators. In any case we will stick to the ceasefire," Daya Master the LTTE spokesman told the 'Sunday Observer' from Kilinochchi.

When asked to comment on the developing situation and the Prime Minister's statement and the Prime Minister's threat Norwegian Ambassador in Colombo Hans Brattskar told the Sunday Observer that he cannot comment on the stand off between the President and the Prime Minister which is a political issue but as far as Norway is concerned the ceasefire agreement continues to hold and is being monitored by the Nordic monitors of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM).

SLMM spokeswoman Agnes Bragadottir when asked to comment said that the SLMM is carrying out their duties on a daily basis and nothing has changed on the ongoing activities of the SLMM. "We are patrolling, monitoring and facilitating and we have no comments to make on the political situation in Colombo," she added.

Meanwhile, a notable encouraging development is the arrival of a five member Swedish Parliamentary group that will have discussions with LTTE political wing leader S.P. Thamilchelvan in the Kilinochchi Peace Secretariat tomorrow. The delegation is keen to know about the stalled peace process, present political situation and the LTTE's stand. The delegation is also scheduled to meet with government and Opposition leaders, it is reliably understood. An American Senate delegation is also scheduled to arrive in the country on January 15 but their itinerary is yet to be known. Germany's State Minister of Foreign Affairs Kerstin Muller will be in Colombo from January 13 to 16 ostensively to attend celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Germany.

The visit of Japan's special envoy Yasuhi Akashi on January 19 to attend meetings of the co-chairs of the Tokyo aid conference and donor agencies on January 23 is much looked forward. But government spokesman Professor G.L. Peiris sounded pessimistic at Friday's press conference in the Parliamentary complex stating that though the full sum pledged would be made available to Sri Lanka the political situation in the South could be a deterrent factor in receiving the pledged aid.

He also said that the Budget proposals were prepared in accordance with the aid pledged at the Tokyo donor parley but it is likely to pose problems in implementing the proposals.

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