LTTE to boycott Japan aid conference
[TamilNet, Saturday, 12 April 2003, 09:58 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said Saturday it would review its decision to participate in the international conference in Tokyo in June in protest at its exclusion from the preliminary conference to be held in Washington on Monday. "The authentic representatives of the Tamil people should have been invited to this major international conference to articulate the interests and aspirations of our people," the LTTE said in a statement issued in the Vanni Saturday.
The full text of the press release follows:
The leadership of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in an official statement issued from its headquarters in Kilinochchi, northern Sri Lanka today, declared that the organisation would review its decision to participate at the Tokyo Donor's Conference in June in protest against the exclusion of their accredited representatives from the crucial international aid conference in Washington to be held on Monday (14 April) in preparation for the main donor conference in Japan.
"In gross violation of the pledges taken at the peace negotiations that the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE should work together and approach the international community in partnership, Sri Lanka has opted to marginalise our organisation at the Washington Conference. This deliberate exclusion of the LTTE from discussions on critical matters affecting the economic and social welfare of the Tamil nation is a grave breach of good faith. We are deeply disappointed that the Sri Lanka Government and Norway, as our facilitator, have failed to ensure the LTTE's participation in this crucial preparatory aid conference by not selecting an appropriate venue," the statement said.
Pointing out that the proposed joint efforts by the LTTE and the Sri Lanka government with regards to the resettlement and rehabilitation of Tamil refugees and IDP's had been hailed at the first round of negotiations as 'a sign of the increasing level of trust between parties and their willingness to work together...' the LTTE statement said 'its exclusion has severely undermined our trust and confidence in Sri Lanka government's intentions'.
The LTTE's statement also severely criticised the Sri Lankan military for its continued occupation of Tamil homes, schools, places of worship and other public buildings in violation of both the ceasefire agreement of February 2002 and subsequent agreements reached at the negotiating table. "The irreconcilable attitude of the Sri Lanka military hierarchy and the impotence of Ranil Wickremasinghe's administration have made all programmes of resettling and rehabilitating hundreds of thousands of Tamil refugees and IDPs unrealisable. The very efficacy of the negotiating process has become questionable since decisions and agreements reached at the peace talks are not being implemented eroding the confidence of the Tamil people,' the statement observed.
"Whilst all of Sri Lanka has suffered from this protracted and bloody conflict, we point out that the north and east are the regions worst affected by the war and decades of underdevelopment, and hence the most urgently in need of international assistance. Apart from the continuing military occupation of Tamil property and buildings there is an unacceptable delay in starting resettlement and reconstruction works in the north and east. In these circumstances, it is only fair and just that the authentic representatives of the Tamil people should have been invited to this major international conference to articulate the interests and aspirations of our people," the statement said.
"With a view to restoring confidence and re-establishing goodwill, the LTTE is therefore calling for the full implementation of the normalisation aspects of the February 2002 ceasefire agreement as well as the implementation of agreements pertaining to resettlement of refugees and IDPs reached in the six rounds of talks held by both parties," the LTTE's statement concluded.