LTTE press release

Macdonald Stainsby mstainsby at
Fri Aug 13 00:05:04 MDT 1999

Urgent Press Release

LTTE Headquarters
Tamil Eelam            
15th July 1999        

The talks between Sri Lanka Army and the LTTE to open a new supply route
through Mankulam on the A9 highway have reached an impasse over
disagreement pertaining to modalities to create a de-militarised zone.

The LTTE leadership has rejected the government's proposal that the Tamil
guerrillas should withdraw five kilometres from the present forward defence
lines to create a demilitarised "no man's land". The LTTE has told that the
ICRC delegates, who have been mediating between the Sri Lankan army and the
Tamil fighters that Sri Lanka's proposal has serious strategic and military
implications disadvantages to the LTTE. It is well known that the
Liberation Tigers have fought a bloody defensive battle for nearly two
years and foiled Sri Lanka's offensive operation called "Jaayasikuri"
(Victory Assured) to open up the A9 highway from Vavuniya to Jaffna. Sri
Lanka abandoned the offensive operation with the fall of Killinochchi
military complex in the hands the LTTE and presently the government troops
are bogged down in the Mnkulam jungles. The LTTE suspects the withdrawal of
its forces to several miles back from its present entrenched positions to
create a demilitarised zone might encourage the army to embark on a new
adventure to move forward along the A9 highway. The LTTE also views that
the government, by stipulating an unfair and unacceptable demand on the
guerrillas, is deliberately delaying the food and other essential supplies
to Vanni population.

Over half a million Tamil people in the LTTE controlled Vanni area in
northern Sri Lanka are facing the spectre of starvation following the
closure of the supply route at Ugilankulam by the Sri Lankan military
authorities on the 26th May this year when they launched the operation Rana
Goosa in the Mannar district.

Relief food supplies, medicines and other essential item to the war
affected population have been suspended ever since the closure of this
route along with ambulance and postal services. In view of this critical
situation the LTTE agreed in principle to open the Mankulam route to
facilitate the food supply and movement of civilians. But the Sri Lanka
army is stipulating modalities which are unacceptable to the LTTE.

(Released by the LTTE International Secretariat, 211 Katherine Rd., london
E6 1BU, United Kingdom Tel: 0181 503 4294)


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