U.S. urged to adopt balanced approach to peace

[TamilNet, Monday, 13 September 2004, 10:17 GMT]
Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentary group leader and the Trincomalee district parliamentarian Mr.R.Sampanthan in a press release issued Monday in Trincomalee said that a meeting Ambassador J.Cofer Black, had with a group of Sri Lankan media representatives in Colombo, has "caused much concern to wide sections of the Tamil people," and cautioned that "failure to adopt an even handed approach could cause immense harm to the peace process." Ambassador Black is U.S. State Department's Co-ordinator for Counter Terrorism.

Ambassador Cofer BlackStatements which condemn one side and which do not objectively address the several causes that impede the furtherance of the peace process only tend to encourage the forces determined to disrupt the peace process, Mr.Sampanthan further pointed out in his statement.

Full text of the press release follows:

The round table discussion, which the U.S.State Department Co-ordinator for Counter Terrorism, Ambassador J.Cofer Black had with a group of Sri Lankan media representatives, recently, in Colombo, has caused much concern to wide sections of the Tamil people.

Ambassador Black has stated that "The object is Peace, to protect individuals on all sides and that's what we strive to do, that's our objective." Ambassador Black has further emphasized "The politicians sit down like real adults and negotiate solutions for the ages to protect people. The first element of this is the protection of innocent men, women and children."

There can be no dispute that Ambassador Black's overall objective is praiseworthy.

New Trinco CampusMost unfortunately however, Ambassador Black's tirade is only against the LTTE and assumes that the LTTE is the root cause of all evil that prevails in Sri Lanka. The Tamil people do not agree with this assessment and there is a need to ensure that the interests of the Tamil people are not harmed.

More innocent Tamil men, women and children have lacked protection through the decades since independence, more than any other people in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan State sought to subjugate the Tamil people through racial pogroms and genocidal attacks, because it could not keep the commitments made to moderate Tamil political leadership. This was where violence commenced in post independent Sri Lanka.

The LTTE was the manifestation of the failure to accommodate the legitimate political aspirations of the Tamil people and the unleashing of State sponsored terrorism against the Tamil people.

The Tamil people are deeply conscious of the immense sufferings they have experienced and are offended when statements by important functionaries do not reflect this reality.

The statements of Ambassador Black do not reflect the deep divisions within the Government, nor the lack of bi-partisan approach, and the deeply entrenched political rivalry, between the main political parties, which are serious impediments to the furtherance of the Peace process. The statements do not refer to the virulent campaigns being conducted against the peace process by extreme elements within the majority people including vehement opposition to Norway's facilitatory role. The burning of Norwegian flag has become a regular event at such demonstrations. The statements do not reflect the adverse impact the aforesaid matters have on the furtherance of the peace process and the urgent need for corrective action in regard to these matters.

The Tamil people have been the worst victims of violence, and do not subscribe to be the continuance of violence.

The current violence cannot be isolated from the disruptions that have taken place to the peace process, and efforts by forces working within and with the Government to further destabilize the peace process.

The LTTE which fought a bloody war against an oppressive state military apparatus for more than two decades and which has entered into a ceasefire agreement, participated in talks, and submitted in writing proposals for an Interim Self-Governing Authority, and called for dates to be fixed for the commencement of talks on the said proposals to reach agreement, is not being encouraged to accept without reservation, that the Sinhala political establishment is committed to the peaceful resolution of the Tamil question. The Tamil people who are deeply committed to the success of the peace process sincerely regret that this situation continues.

Statements which condemn one side and which do not objectively address the several causes that impede the furtherance of the peace process only tend to encourage the forces determined to disrupt the peace process.

The Tamil people would like to convey that the failure to adopt an even handed approach could cause immense harm to the peace process and would appeal that a more balanced approach be adopted in the cause of Peace, which the Ambassador Black asserts he is committed to uphold."


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