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18 April, 2006 - Published 17:34 GMT

LTTE 'considering' chopper offer

The Tamil Tigers are yet to decide whether to accept a suggestion by the Sri Lanka government on LTTE hiring private helicopters to transport their eastern commanders.

Head of LTTE peace secretariat S Pulithevan told BBC Sandeshaya that they are considering a letter received through the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM).

"We will inform our decision to special envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer," he said.

Pulithevan added that head of LTTE political wing SP Thamilselvan will discuss recent developments including the transport issue when they meet the special envoy on Thursday in Kilinochchi.

The Tigers insist that they need to meet eastern commanders in Vanni before leaving for Geneva for talks with the Sri Lanka government (GoSL).

"As Thamilselvan said in his letter to Norwegian authorities, the conditions and atmosphere has to be created before going for talks," Pulithevan told bbcsinhala.com.

Commenting on reports by news agencies that the LTTE has rejected the latest suggestion by the government, Pulithevan said the Tigers are yet to decide on whether to accept the recent offer by the GoSL.

The LTTE last week rejected an offer by the GoSL to transport their eastern commanders objecting the presence of Sri Lanka Navy (SLN).

But the SLMM said the Tigers have initially agreed for the plan which included the presence of SLN ships within an agreed distance.

The parties were initially scheduled to meet in Geneva for second round of talks on 19 April but later postponed that to 24-25 April.