Sri Lanka complains of Tiger “disinformation” on Jaffna access

GENEVA, Oct 29, 2006 (AFP) – The Sri Lankan government on Sunday accused the Tamil Tigers of spreading “disinformation” about humanitarian supplies for the northern Jaffna Peninsula while peace talks were underway in Geneva. Reto Meister, delegate general for Asia at the ICRC, told AFP on Thursday that the “lack of a mutually agreed safe access” to Jaffna was limiting its relief operations there. The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam had not given essential security guarantees needed to allow humanitarian convoys to reach the area by sea, the consulate-general of Sri Lanka in Switzerland said in a statement.

The chief negotiator for the Tamil Tigers, S. P. Thamilselvan, said after a first day of talks that “progress was zero” on the core humanitarian issues affecting the Tamil population that they want negotiations to deal with first.

They include reopening the single A9 highway into the Jaffna peninsula and the lifting of an economic embargo on rebel territory.

The Jaffna area, which has a Tamil majority in its population of about 600,000, is largely government-controlled.

Both the government and the Tamil Tiger rebels blame each other for closing the road.

The consulate said its attention “has