Change in mission composition violation of MOU - Keheliya
COLOMBO: The Government yesterday declared that it viewed the LTTE's
demand for the removal of European Union (EU) truce monitors from the
Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) as a violation of the Memorandum of
Understanding to which they both were signatories.
"At the time of the Agreement both the Government and the LTTE agreed
on the composition of the SLMM and five Nordic countries Norway, Sweden,
Finland, Denmark and Iceland were selected for this purpose," Plan
Implementation Minister and the Government's Defence spokesman Keheliya
Rambukwella said at the weekly security situation briefing.
He questioned as to how ethical it was for the LTTE to request the
removal of monitors from Sweden, Denmark and Finland from the 60 m ember
body at this stage.
"They may even want to have Norway ousted as the facilitator and
leave the SLMM redundant," he added querying as to how would the
Government be expected to react to such a situation.
The Minister said both parties at different stages of the truce had
disagreement with the monitors "but the Government opted to talk to
settle these differences." The LTTE request, he said was brought before
the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) by the Nordic
facilitator and the Secretariat together with Norway was working on it.
According to Rambukwella it was the Government's view that the LTTE's
change of mind on the SLMM composition at the present stage would hinder
the already threatened peace process.
He added the LTTE's demand would place Norway in an awkward position,
where the facilitator would have to inform the SLMM the LTTE has no
faith in other countries barring Norway. "This is the second time the
LTTE has put Norway into difficulty," he said.
Following the ban on the LTTE by the EU, the LTTE refused to have
monitors from Sweden, Finland and Denmark serving in the truce
The Peace Secretariat stated that the time frame of one month, the
LTTE has given to replace EU monitors with new monitors would raise
practical difficulties, where the Government, the LTTE and Norway has to
identify countries acceptable to both parties and are also willing to
serve in the Monitoring Mission.
SCOPP said the facilitator Norway was also concerned about the LTTE's
stance on EU monitors and the declared time limit to replace them.