Sri Lanka rules out lifting LTTE ban

[TamilNet, Thursday, 15 November 2001, 02:47 GMT]
Sri Lanka’s President Chandrika Kumaratunga Tuesday categorically ruled out the possibility of lifting her government’s ban on the Liberation Tigers. Speaking at the presentation of her ruling People’s Alliance (PA) manifesto at her official residence, President Kumaratunga ruled out any truck with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the Island newspaper reported Wednesday. Commenting on reports of eroding support for the PA amongst the Tamil community, President Kumaratunga said the people of Jaffna were with her and the people under LTTE control were supporting the main opposition United National Party (UNP). "As for the Tamils in Colombo they are really not part of the Tamil community as a whole. They promote what is best for business," she said in derision, the Island reported.

"We will not lift the ban as a pre-condition [for talks]," President Kumaratunga said.

"We are unwilling to betray our country for the sake of power," she said, rejecting the TNA's election platform, that includes promises to pressure future Sri Lankan governments to lift the ban on the LTTE, which the TNA has endorsed as the sole representatives of the Tamil people.

President Kumaratunga claimed that the LTTE had opted out of the Norwegian peace initiative in June. She reiterated her party's refrain that the UNP had a secret pact with the LTTE in terms of which it intended to set up an interim council amalgamating the north and east to accommodate the LTTE.

"We too believe that the root cause of the war is the ethnic problem and a negotiated settlement is necessary, and with it the devolution of power. But we are wholly against terrorism" the Island quoted her as saying.

Of the Marxist People’s Liberation Front (JVP) she said that they had a working arrangement with the JVP prior to the collapse of the government. "It was a good agreement," she said, adding that her party was "willing to work with those willing to work with the PA in terms of its principles".

Asked about the increasing erosion of Tamil and minority support for the PA, the President responded that the people in Jaffna still supported her party while it was in those areas in the East under LTTE control that the UNP had scored with the LTTE giving a direct command to the people, to vote for the UNP.


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