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* Sri Lankan Government ordering radio equipment for LTTE "left a bad taste in everyone's mouth" - leaked US cable
Sat, Jan 8, 2011, 01:31 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 08, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government in power in 2002 ordering radio equipment for the LTTE has "left a bad taste in everyone's mouth" stirring controversy that the government and the Norwegian facilitators have gone too far to please the Tigers, a cable dated December 20, 2002 sent by the United States mission in Colombo said.

The United National Party (UNP) government in power in 2002 with the assistance of Norwegian Embassy in Sri Lanka has ordered the radio equipment for the LTTE radio station "Voice of the Tigers" which was legalized by the government as a private entity and given permission to broadcast.

The move has made Indian government to express its concerns to the Sri Lankan government that the equipment will allow LTTE broadcasts to reach Tamil Nadu.

According to the WikiLeaks cable released recently by the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten the shipment which came to the Norwegian Embassy in Colombo with no duty being paid was handed over to the Peace Secretariat from where the equipment was transferred to the LTTE with the assistance of the Defense Ministry.

The government nor the Embassy was apparently clear about the sort of radio equipment but believed the equipment was to improve the FM capability of the Tiger Radio.

Both the Sri Lankan and Norwegian governments have come under severe criticism from various parties, especially from Sri Lanka's Marxist party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, the cable noted.

The Sri Lankan government responding to the flak has said that the import of the equipment was allowed because the LTTE had agreed to accede to government's broadcasting regulations.

The Norwegians have told the US that they were only working to further the peace process at the Sri Lankan government's request.

The US in the leaked cable says that while the incident did not really do too much damage to the peace process, its handling provided skeptics of the process some ammunition.

The peace agreement signed between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE in February 2002 became an utter failure after the Tigers refused to participate in peace talks.

The current President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa abrogated the failed ceasefire agreement in January 2008 and launched a massive coordinated military offensive that wiped out the whole terrorist organization and its leadership in May 2009 and brought peace to the island.



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