At the opening of the new bridge built over Arugambay….

The UNP-led Opposition at logger heads with President Mahinda Rajapaksa over his cosy relationship with the armed breakaway LTTE faction headed by A?a??E?ColonelA?a??a?? Karuna Amman is seriously disturbed over the international communityA?a??a??s readiness to strike a working relationship with the group.

“We are disappointed,” a UNP MP told The Sunday Island. The international community shouldnA?a??a??t have contacted the TMVP now in control of the first Eastern Provincial Council, the Batticaloa Municipal Council and all Pradeshiya Sabhas in the Batticaloa District. This would only encourage the Rajapaksas and their newly found ally to step up the combined security forces campaign in the Vanni.

But Karuna who recently returned after serving a shortened prison term for violating British immigration laws is expected to keep a low profile.

The government has prohibited foreign governments sending representatives to Kilinochchi after the August, 2005, assassination of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar in Colombo.

The government recently rejected an LTTE call to arrange Norwegian representatives to visit Kilinochchi to explore ways and means of kick starting peace negotiations.

The Tamil National Alliance, the SLMC and the JVP, too, criticised the international community for having contacts with the TMVP as the group hadnA?a??a??t de-commissioned its weapons. They said the Rajapaksas would take advantage of on and off meetings between the international community and the TMVP to strengthen their government which was pursuing a military solution. They accused the international community of taking a contradictory stand on the issue. On one hand, the international community wanted the government to disarm the TMVP while on the other hand, an undemocratically elected administration was being international endorsement, the JVP said.

In the run upto the EPC polls, JVP frontliner Anura Kumara Dissanayake accused India of promoting the TMVP-Rajapaksa relationship at the expense of the vast majority of people wanting the restoration of democracy.

The criticism comes hard on the heels of Sri LankaA?a??a??s Ambassador to the EU Ravinatha AriyasinghaA?a??a??s declaration that a visiting EU delegation would meet with EP Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan this week. This would be the first direct contact between the EPC administration and the EU, a Foreign Ministry official said, expressing relief that the EU had changed its previous stance.

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Order eldepryl Government sources expressed the belief the change of the international opinion had been influenced by rapidly deteriorating LTTE military power in the Vanni region where the army was on the advance on a wide front on both west and east of the A9 road.

The EU ParliamentA?a??a??s Delegation for Relations with the Countries of South Asia in Brussels would be headed by its Chairman Robert Evans, Socialist Group member of the UK and would include a cross section of the political groups and member states represented within the EU.

Last month, Sri Lanka declined to take a visiting EU delegation to the East after it refused to meet the newly installed ECP administration.

British Minister Lord Malloch Brown and the Netherlands Ambassador in Colombo Reynout Van Dijk last week met Chandrakanthan in Trincomalee. This followed US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Even Feigenbaum, US ChargedA?a??a?? Affairs James R. Moore and USAID Mission Director Rebecca Cohn appearing on one stage with President Rajapaksa and Chandrakanthan on July 1 at the opening of the new bridge built over Arugambay. The USAIDA?a??a??s flagship tsunami aid project had cost USD 10 million.

UPFA General Secretary and Minister Susil Premjayanth said the government fielded a TMVP candidate on the government list for the North Central Province at the August 23 election as they were confident of working with the group. “We have every confidence in them,” he said, describing the move as an extension of the government-TMVP political relationship.

The decision to accommodate Batticaloa Mayor Ms P. Sivageetha of the TMVP on the Consultative Committee on Humanitarian Assistance (CCHA) had facilitated its relationship with the Colombo embassies, the sources said. Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samaraweera had paved the way for the TMVP entry by inviting Ms Sivageetha to attend a CCHA meeting held in Colombo on April 29 with the participation of US Ambassador Robert Blake and UNICEF Country Director Philippe Duamelle. The CCHA chaired by Samarasinghe had brought the US, EU and UN together, the sources said, adding Ms Shivageetha during the April meeting was given the opportunity to address the gathering.

In her address, she had urged the donors to work through the newly elected Batticaloa MC.

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