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Home >> World
UPDATED: 19:26, March 23, 2006
Sri Lanka says Geneva talks will be held as planned
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The Sri Lankan government said on Thursday that next month's Geneva talks will go ahead as planned despite doubts being raised by the Tamil Tiger rebels.

Government spokesman and Minister of Media and Information Anura Yapa told reporters here that talks scheduled for April 19- 21 in Geneva will go ahead as planned.

Yapa was responding to a question raised on the media reports of statements attributed to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam ( LTTE) rebels that talks may have to be postponed.

"The LTTE leadership will consider postponing the second round or they might even think of attending the talks and continue to insist on disarming of paramilitary groups," LTTE's theoretician Anton Balasingham was quoted as saying in the media.

Yapa said "as far as we are concerned, we are committed to the joint statement signed in Geneva and we will go ahead as planned."

At the first round of talks on Feb. 22-23 in Geneva, the Tigers demanded that paramilitary groups allegedly operating in the North and East provinces with connivance of the government troops must be disarmed before the next round in April.

In the joint statement issued after the talks, the government assured the Tigers that it would ensure no armed groups other than the government forces would operate in the two provinces.

Yapa blamed the Tigers of violating the cease-fire agreement some 39 times since the Geneva talks.

"The government wants the LTTE to stop violating the Cease-fire and stop activities such as child recruitment," he stressed, adding that the international truce monitors and the international community will be kept informed by the government on the LTTE's truce violations.

Source: Xinhua

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