‘Joint mechanism, trust fund part of peace process’

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 25 May 2005, 20:37 GMT]
The proposed Joint Mechanism and the Trust Fund for post-tsunami management are part of efforts to resume the Sri Lankan peace process, the European Union’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Mr. Wouter Wilton, said Wednesday when he met with the Liberation Tigers in Kilinochi.

Mr. Wilton, accompanied by Ms.Susan Blankhart, the Netherlands’ Ambassador to Sri Lanka, met with Mr. S. P. Thamilchelvan, head of the LTTE’s Political Wing, Mr. P. Nadesan, the Tamil Eelam Police, chief, Mr. Ilanthirayan, Head of LTTE’s Political Wing in Batticaloa-Amparai and Mr. S. Puleedevan, Secretary General of the LTTE Peace Secretariat.

Eu, Dutch asmbassadors, Thamilchelvan.
Mr.Thamilchelvan, Head of the LTTE’s Political Wing receives Ms.Susan Blankhart, the Dutch Ambassador to Sri Lanka, 25 May 2005.
The Ambassadors had briefed the LTTE officials on developments at the international donor conference held in Kandy two weeks ago. They had expressed their commitment to a joint mechanism and trust fund for distributing tsunami-related aid.

The Ambassadors had expressed their concern over the continuing violence in Sri Lanka’s restive east and the ongoing communal tension in Trincomalee, LTTE Peace Secretariat sources said.

The Ambassadors had called for maximum restraint from the LTTE, saying they sought the same from all parties, they said.

In response, Mr. Thamilchelvan had pointed out that the LTTE was exercising restraint despite difficult conditions, in the interests of peace and expressed his regret the Sri Lankan government was not taking steps to build confidence and ease tensions.

“The Sri Lankan government’s inflexibility on pursing a negotiated peace has not been swayed by the natural disaster [tsunami] last December,” Mr. Thamilchelvan was quoted as saying.

Mr. Thamilchelvan had criticised the Colombo government’s inordinate delay in arriving at sharing aid with people in the LTTE-held areas.

Instead of bridging the ethnic divide, the government’s actions have left the Tamil people are frustrated and angry, he told the Ambassadors.

“Initiating a peace process is one thing, but sustaining it and maintaining the support of the people is another,” Mr. Thamilchelvan said.

“Three years after the ceasefire was signed, the Tamil people are yet to receive a peace dividend,” Mr. Thamilchelvan pointed out. “The terms [restoring normalcy] set out in the [ceasefire] agreement have not been implemented.”

With regards the ongoing violence in the east, the Sri Lankan government’s refusal to rein in and disarm Tamil paramilitaries backed by the Army, as stipulated in Clause 1.8 of the ceasefire agreement, is to blame for the ongoing violence and instability, Mr. Thamilchelvan had said.

The tension in Trincomalee over the past weeks is being fuelled by the provocative actions of the Sri Lankan security forces there, he said.

There is no animosity by the Tamils of all religions against Buddhists or Buddhism, but Sinhala-Buddhist extremists are seeking a confrontation, he said.

“The setting up of a Buddha statue [in the centre of the public space], with the support of the [Sinhala] military is not an act of veneration of Lord Buddha but an attempt to antagonise non-Buddhists,” he said.

Pointing out that Trincomalee has long been a site of communal tension following decades of state-sponsored Sinhala colonisation, there are fears amongst the Tamil-speaking communities that agent provocateurs are seeking to disrupt the peace process,” Mr. Thamilchelvan.

Eu, Dutch asmbassadors, Thamilchelvan.


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