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LTTE wants talks in Europe

by Ranga Jayasuriya

The LTTE has rejected the government's offer to hold peace talks in an Asian country, insisting on Europe as the venue.

LTTE spokesman Daya Master said the LTTE yesterday conveyed its position to the government through the Norwegian peace facilitators.

LTTE political chief, S. P. Thamilselvan has also told reporters of his movement's decision on the venue of peace talks.

Thamilselvan yesterday met CWC leader Arumugam Thondaman.

"Our leadership wants the first round of peace talks be held in an European country, preferably Norway. And for the second round we can go to an Asian country," the LTTE spokesman told the Sunday Observer.

Asked why the LTTE rejected the government's offer to hold peace talks in Asia, he said," the government is campaigning to ban us in Europe and its offer to hold talks in Asia and not in Europe is another effort to deny us recognition in Europe".

"We see this as a conspiracy against us."

A Norwegian Embassy spokesman declined to comment.

The government on Friday formally announced that it was prepared to meet the LTTE in any Asian country to talk anything, be it the ceasefire review or peace talks. This was a departure from the position of the Chandrika Kumaratunga Administration, which was firm that the ceasefire talks should be held in Sri Lanka, thereby curtailing LTTE efforts to seek international recognition.

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