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Talks on SLMM's safety on June 8, 9

COLOMBO: A Government delegation headed by Peace Secretariat Chief Dr. Palitha Kohona will participate in talks on the operational and safety aspects of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) in Oslo on June 8 and 9.

The Government delegation, Norwegian facilitators, senior SLMM representatives and the LTTE are due to discuss matters relating to the operational modalities of the SLMM in the light of recent incidents.

The LTTE is however yet to confirm its participation. "The talks are not in any way related to the ceasefire talks.

They will be solely on the various problems faced by the SLMM and ensuring their security in the aftermath of major incidents such as the attack on the Pearl Cruise vessel," said Kethesh Loganathan, Deputy Chief of the Peace Secretariat.

He said the proposal was conveyed by the Norwegian delegation led by International Development Minister Erik Solheim during his discussion with the President on May 26. Solheim suggested the need to have a meeting to assess the situation and address the safety and security of the SLMM. The Government responded positively to this suggestion.

Solheim has stated that it was important to ensure that the SLMM can function effectively in the current situation.

Apart from Dr. Kohona, the other members of the Government delegation to the Oslo discussions are yet to be named, Loganathan said.

"The President and the Government greatly appreciate the commitment and services of the SLMM and will unreservedly provide support that the SLMM requests to ensure the safety of its members. The Government also wishes to encourage the LTTE to respond positively to the invitation to the second round of talks in Geneva," a Government news release said last night.

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