Sri Lankan military accuses rebels of provocation

Sri Lankan troops have accused the Tamil Tigers of carrying out a series of attacks to provoke the troops in violation of the ongoing truce.

Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe, the defense ministry spokesman, said Saturday that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels had fired at the Navy as many as five times during the last 10 days.

"These are totally unprovoked attacks and clear violations of the cease-fire agreement," Samarasinghe said.

He said all attacks directed at the Navy were in the eastern district of Trincomalee and at least two attacks on Naval craft had taken place even when the members of the international truce monitors, the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), were on board.

The government and the LTTE are to meet in Geneva in three weeks to discuss the Norwegian backed cease-fire which had largely held since February 2002 despite sporadic acts of violence.

Most violations of the truce have been blamed on the Tigers and the rebels in turn accuse the government for its failure to fully implement the provisions of the agreement.

The first round of talks late February in Geneva ended in an agreement from both sides to stick to the truce and this month's talks are aimed at reviewing the progress of the agreement.

Analysts say both sides are expected to level more accusations at each other at the next round and are creating the ground for such an eventuality.

The SLMM will submit its report on the truce violations since the first round in Geneva aimed at getting the two sides to agree to honor and uphold spirit of the agreement, the SLMM sources said.

Source: Xinhua



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