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Sri Lankan government proposes 2 dates for peace talks

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, Oct 4, IRNA
Sri Lanka-Gov't-Peace talks
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has proposed October 30 or November 10 as dates for holding peace talks with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The LTTE has been informed of the proposed dates by the Norwegian facilitator, Jon Hansen Bauer, in Kiliniochchi.

Sri Lanka's Defense spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella made the announcement at a press conference held in Colombo Tuesday.

Bauer notified the LTTE of the conditions for the talks which the government had laid down.

The government says the LTTE must give a guarantee in writing to the co-chairs and facilitators that they would not smuggle arms during the ceasefire and co-chairs and facilitators have to take responsibility if the LTTE does so.

Bauer also informed them that if the LTTE violates the ceasefire the government should have the right to retaliate or respond suitably.

Meanwhile, Norway's top peace envoy returned from talks with the Tamil Tiger guerillas without a firm agreement on resuming the island's stalled peace process, diplomats involved in the process said.

The discussions Oslo's envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer had with the Tamil Tiger rebels was also marred by an air attack in the same area, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said.

Bauer arrived in Colombo Sunday in Norway's latest bid to jumpstart the stalled peace process after the Tigers and the Colombo government repeated last month they were ready for unconditional talks.

The Tiger rebels also reiterated their willingness to talk unconditionally today but did not give dates to coincide with the government's suggestion for talks either on October 30 or November 10.

The Tigers had informally indicated that talks could be on October 28, two days ahead of the date the government suggested.

Israeli-built Kfir jets pounded three gun positions at Pooneryn, about 30km away from where Norwegian envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer was meeting with leaders of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Tuesday.

Bauer is to travel to New Delhi on Thursday to brief the Indian authorities on his latest mission amid growing concern in India over the deteriorating situation in the island.

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