"SL President's lack of sincerity will hamper peace efforts" -TNA

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 11 November 2003, 12:34 GMT]
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Tuesday told the Norwegian peace envoys that defense arrangements of the country should be left in the hands of one party that is dedicated to take forward the current peace process with sincerity. Sri Lanka's President's past actions of not responding to LTTE's unilateral ceasefire in December 2000 and her attempts to sideline Norway's peace envoy Eric Soleheim reflect her lack of sincerity and leaving the Peace Process in her command will damage peace efforts, TNA delegation added.

The TNA delegation comprised parliamentarians Messrs R.Sampanthan, V.Anandasangaree, A.Vinayagamoorthy, Joseph Pararajasingham, N.Raviraj, G.G.Gajendrakumar, Raja Kuhaneswaran, A.Chandra Nehru, Selvam Adaikalanathan, K.Thurairetnasingham and EPRLF Secretary General Mr.Suresh Premachandran and ACTC assistant secretary Mr.N. Kumarakuruparan.

Special peace envoy Mr. Erik Solheim, Norwegian ambassador in Colombo Mr.Jan Brattskar and embassy official Mr. Thomas Strangland also participated in the discussions.

The talks centred on three vital issues, the Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA) proposal of the LTTE, the present constitutional crisis between Sri Lanka's executive and the parliamentary legislature and the inclusion of Muslim participation in the peace talks, said Mr.Sampanthan who was the chief spokesman during the discussion, TNA sources said.

The TNA delegation briefed the peace envoys that some elements of the ISGA proposals were identical to the constitutional arrangements found in the federal concept of Canada and Australia. Furthermore that in Sri Lanka too past governments had agreed to implement some changes in the constitution that are found in the ISGA. Therefore ISGA should be taken up for discussion between the parties concerned, TNA delegation said.

Regarding the take over of the key ministries, defense, interior and mass communication by Ms.Kumaratunge last week, the TNA delegation said that matters relating to defense arrangements of the country and the responsibility of taking forward the peace process should be entrusted to one party of the governance and not to be divided between two parties which would cause serious impact on the peace process. The responsibility related to defense arrangement should be entrusted to the party that is sincerely dedicated to take forward the peace process, TNA delegation pointed out

The TNA leaders told the Norwegian facilitators that the President had not shown keen interest in pursuing the peace process when the LTTE declared unilateral ceasefire in December 2000. Instead of agreeing to the LTTE ceasefire declaration the then government led by the President had launched a military operation named Agni Kheela against the LTTE.

Allowing the responsibility in the hands of a party that is not sincere to the peace process will seriously affect such process, TNA delegation pointed out to Norwegian facilitators who brokered the ceasefire agreement between the GOSL and LTTE.

TNA delegation reminded the peace envoys that during the past regime the motor convoy that took special peace envoy Mr. Erik Solheim to Vanni to meet LTTE political wing head Mr.S.P.Thamilchelvan had been attacked and the latter had escaped miraculously in that incident. Chandrika government had marginalized Mr. Erik Solheim from the peace talks. Thereafter the peace talks came to a standstill, TNA delegation said.

Regarding the demand for a separate Muslim participation in the current peace talks, the TNA delegation said a political solution should be found to the ethnic conflict that should meet the aspirations of legitimate rights of Muslims. There was no question in this regard.

However the participation of separate Muslim delegation is not needed. Parties involved in the war the GOSL and the LTTE only should take part in the current peace process, the delegation said.

Tamils in the country had been deprived of their legitimate rights and aspirations and their traditional homeland and livelihood in the country for the last fifty-two years and finally the armed struggle of the LTTE has created the present environment. Their sacrifice should be respected, TNA delegation said.


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