In a surprise move,the LTTE named a high-profile representative – Selvarasa Pathmanathan – as its new contact with the international community.
The rebel outfit said Pathmanathan would head its newly established Department of International Relations and represent the Tigers in any future peace initiatives,the pro-LTTE website TamilNet said. The new representative would be based outside Sri Lanka.
A letter sent to the various international actors by the LTTE said Pathmanathan will be the primary point of contact for engaging with the international community,the website said. However,the site did not name the international contacts.
Confirming the appointment,LTTEs Political Head B Nadesan told TamilNet that Pathmanathan had been engaged in correspondence with the international actors and will be working abroad with required mandate from the LTTE leadership.
Nadesan blamed the Lankan Government for stepped up attacks and claimed that most of the civilians were forced to take shelter inside bunkers. He also said that civilian casualties were mounting in some areas.
In a fresh military offensive,Lankan troops seized a luxury bunker,which could have been used by LTTE chief Prabhakaran,a military spokesman said. This is the third bunker unearthed by the Lankan troops during operations over the past few weeks.
The seized bunker was fitted with an elevator,revolving bed,steel framed and bullet proof doors and windows. It also contained a fully-equipped kitchen,an air-conditioned room,a bathroom and a self-contained power supply through a muffled generator.With just hours left for the 48-hour deadline set by the Sri Lankan Government for LTTE to allow trapped Tamil civilians to cross over,there was barely a trickle of outflow,forcing international aid agencies to attempt a last-minute agreement.
International Red Cross officials said they were negotiating with the LTTE to evacuate more wounded people from the conflict zone.
We are negotiating with both the parties to the conflict to work out a safe passage for many more patients who need urgent medical treatment, ICRC spokeswoman Sarasi Wijeratne said. However,she did not give any figure of how many wounded people were still trapped in the Tigers-held areas.
The ICRC and UN evacuated 350 wounded civilians on Friday after negotiations with the LTTE. There are number of UN and ICRC vehicles still stranded in the areas held by the LTTE.