Friday, Jul 04, 2003
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By V.S. Sambandan
According to a report in the Tamil newspaper Virakesari, Mr. Tamilchelvan is to make the visit after the Government's basic proposals for an interim administration are presented.
It may be recalled that on June 26, the chief government negotiator, G.L. Peiris, said the Government would send the basic proposals for an interim administration to the Tigers "within two weeks.'' The newspaper said that the visit was planned as Mr. Balasingham's health-condition restricted his travel to the rebel-held northern Sri Lanka and to hold discussions with the LTTE leadership.
Today's report comes a few days after Mr. Balasingham told a Tamil newspaper Sudar Oli, that he had already requested the LTTE leadership to make alternate arrangements to continue the peace talks citing his inability to travel frequently between London and Vanni. It is not yet clear if Mr. Balasingham had requested an alternative to be considered as the LTTE's chief rebel negotiator.
According to sources, one possibility is that Mr. Balasingham restricts himself to a limited presence in the negotiating process. Another possibility is the relocation of talks, if they resume, to a suitable European destination to make it convenient for Mr. Balasingham.
Rebel sources maintain that there would be no change and that Mr. Balasingham will continue as the chief negotiator. The LTTE's chief negotiator cut short his last visit to the Vanni in May and returned to London as his "health condition had deteriorated.'' That departure was a few days before the Norwegian Foreign Minister, Jan Petersen, was to meet the LTTE leadership in a bid to convince them to participate in the Tokyo talks.
In his interview to the Sudar Oli, Mr. Balasingham had said he was ``unable to hold frank conversations'' from London with the LTTE leadership in Vanni because of his ill-health and had hence requested alternative arrangements.
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