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'Counter-proposals for LTTE ready'

By V.S. Sambandan

COLOMBO, OCT. 14. The Sri Lankan Government said today that its "counter-proposals" were "ready and waiting" to be submitted to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelamand hoped that the talks would resume.

Declining to go into the contents of the counter-proposals, the Cabinet spokesman, Mangala Samaraweera, told a press conference here that the Government was "very baffled that the LTTE is not coming to talks," as Colombo had "done everything possible" during the last six months to resume the negotiations.

`Responses'

Mr. Samaraweera, who is also the Media and Ports Minister, said the counter-proposals were in the form of "responses to be discussed at the negotiating table."

The LTTE, which unilaterally pulled out of talks last April, submitted its proposal for an Interim Self-Governing Authority last October.

Efforts by the facilitators, Norway, to resume negotiations have failed, particularly after initial differences between the Government and the Tigers on the agenda were overtaken by a deteriorating eastern security situation as internecine fighting escalated between the LTTE factions.

Condemning the murders, Mr. Samaraweera said the Government "abhors and condemns all kinds of political killings."

Karuna's party

Asked about the announcement by the LTTE's former military commander, V. Muralitharan (`Col.' Karuna) that he was launching the Tamileela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal, he said the Government welcomed any move towards democratic politics by anyone and expressed the hope that the island-nation's election officials would take steps to recognise it as a political party.

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