TNA delegation meets Akashi

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 21 January 2004, 12:05 GMT]
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Wednesday told the Japanese special peace envoy Mr.Yasushi Akashi that the international community should come forward to help the Tamils in the north east province with an alternative plan to restore normalcy in their lives and to develop their war-ravaged homeland if the political rivalry among Sinhala political leaders stalls the peace process, TNA sources said.

TNA delegation leader Mr.R.Sampanthan told Mr. Akashi that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna has dealt a severe blow for restarting the stalled peace talks between the Sri Lanka government and the LTTE. "If the power struggle of Sinhala politicians becomes a hurdle to find a peaceful political solution to the ethnic problem, the international community should come forward to assert the stand of Tamils that they have a right to go their own way to achieve their aspirations," Mr.Sampanthan stressed at the discussion held Wednesday between Mr. Akashi and TNA delegation, sources said.

TNA delegation comprised Parliamentarians Messrs A.Vinayagamoorthy, Mavai Senathirajah, N.Raviraj, Raja Kuhaneswaran, K.Thangavadivel and K.Thurairetnasingham and the Secretary General of the Eelam Peoples Revolutionary Liberation Front Mr.Suresh Premachchandran. The discussion, which commenced around 11.15 a.m. concluded at about 12.15 p.m.

The Japanese ambassador for Sri Lanka, deputy ambassador and Japanese foreign ministry officials participated in the discussion with Mr. Akashi which took place in the Japanese embassy in Colombo, TNA sources said.

The TNA delegation led by its parliamentary group leader Mr.R.Sampanthan briefed Mr. Akashi about the political situation in the south of the country and of the northeast province where hundreds of thousands of internally displaced have been languishing in refugee camps and welfare centres unable to resettle in their homes and lands even after two years since the ceasefire agreement was signed by the government and the Liberation Tigers.

"Sinhala political parties have been fighting against each other to capture power disregarding the burning problem of the country. "We cannot wait till their power struggle is over in finding a just and fair political solution to the Tamil national question," Mr. Sampanthan told Mr. Akashi.

Mr. Akashi, according to TNA sources had replied that that the international community would not go back in their stand in respecting the aspirations and urgent needs of the Tamils. "We would not allow the peace process to fail. The international community stands firm in this objective," said Mr. Akashi, TNA sources said.

Mr.Sampanthan said it was pointed out to Mr. Akashi that the President's action of taking over three key ministries from UNF government three days after the LTTE had submitted interim administrative proposals to the UNF government was considered by Tamils as an act to sabotage the peace process. "The president has acted in an irresponsible manner in this regard," said Mr.Sampanthan.

Tamils put forward Thamileelam demand 27 years ago in 1976. All political negotiations held with Sinhala governments in the south by Tamil leaders till 1983 failed to regain lost rights and traditional lands of Tamils. This was due to power struggle between Sinhala political parties, Mr. Sampanthan brought to the notice of Mr. Akashi.

Mr.Sampanthan said agreement was reached at Donors conference held at Tokyo last year to provide necessary foreign aid to northeast reconstruction and rehabilitation depending on the progress of the peace process between the Sri Lanka government and the LTTE. Only Tamils in the northeast province have been badly affected because of the suspension of the peace process. This cannot be allowed to continue, Sampanthan said.

"Hence it is the duty of the international community to come forward to provide an alternate plan to Tamils to reconstruct and rehabilitate their homeland and to restore normalcy in their lives after twenty years of devastation and destruction," Mr.Sampanthan told Mr Akashi.


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