TNA urges Colombo to sign aid deal

[TamilNet, Saturday, 18 June 2005, 09:06 GMT]
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Saturday appealed to the Sri Lanka Government to sign the post-Tsunami agreement with the LTTE as agreed between the Government and the LTTE with Norwegian facilitation. Noting that the main barrier to signing the agreement, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), has quit the alliance, the TNA said it would support fully all steps taken in the right direction by the minority Government.

Full statement by the TNA follows:

Mr.SampanthanThe far reaching political developments in the country that have resulted in the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), withdrawing its support to the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government, reducing it to the status of a minority government have made it necessary for the Illankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (The Tamil National Alliance, TNA) to define its future course of political action.

Two decades of fierce war in the Northeast had left hundreds of thousands of Tamil people dislocated and destitute. The physical infrastructure in the Northeast was substantially devastated. A large number of Tamil people were greatly traumatized by the war and its consequences.

Though more than three years have lapsed since the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement, and though the dislocated people have been most anxious to return to their homes and commence normal life, they have been denied this basic fundamental right. The result is that these hundreds of thousands of Tamil people continue to encounter much deprivation and human suffering. It has not been possible in these circumstances to utilize the funds made available by the International Community to provide urgently required relief to these long suffering people.

It was to deal urgently with this severe humanitarian crisis, which was reaching unbearable proportions, and to rebuild and bring back normalcy to the Northeast that an Interim Self Governing Authority was sought to be established in the Northeast, pending the evolution of a final political solution.

The LTTE submitted proposals for the establishment of an Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA) in the Northeast and requested that dates be fixed for the commencement of talks on the said proposals. The UNF government was prepared to determine dates for the commencement of such talks. This became infructuous as a result of the political instability that followed, the dissolution of Parliament and the formation of a new government.

President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga at a meeting held with the parliamentary group of the ITAK (TNA) on 10th June 2004 conveyed her decision to discuss the ISGA proposals with the LTTE, subject to reservations she entertained. Regrettably, such negotiations never commenced. The JVP, the government's main alliance partner opposed the commencement of negotiations. Consequently the Ceasefire became increasingly fragile.

The ceasefire has also been jeopardized as a result of collaboration between the Sri Lankan Armed Forces and Tamil Paramilitary Forces with a vested interest in disrupting the peace process. This is a serious impediment to the furtherance of the peace process. The ITAK (TNA) insists upon the provisions of the Ceasefire Agreement being strictly observed.

In the days following the Tsunami natural disaster of 26th December 2004, negotiations commenced between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE in regard to the setting up of a structure to deal with post-Tsunami activities in the Northeast.

It was the expectation of the ITAK (TNA) that the agreement in regard to such a structure would be concluded expeditiously, given the reality that the structure pertained only to activities related to the damage caused by the Tsunami in the Tsunami affected areas.

The signing of the agreement has however been long delayed. People affected by Tsunami have continued to suffer much deprivation and suffering.

The main opposition to the conclusion of the said agreement came from the government's main alliance partner, the JVP. The JVP, in the context of the government not fulfilling the ultimatum that the government should withdraw the proposal to sign the post-Tsunami agreement before 15th June 2005, has left the government.

The ITAK (TNA) urges that the government should without further delay sign the post-Tsunami agreement with the LTTE as per the decisions arrived at between the government and the LTTE with Norwegian facilitation, and that effective implementation of such agreement should commence immediately thereafter.

Talks should also commence in regard to the setting up of an Interim Self Governing Authority as per the proposals submitted by the LTTE without delay, and the peace process should be pursued.

The ITAK (TNA) will render its fullest support to all steps taken in the right direction.

Parliamentary Group Leader,
Tamil National Alliance.


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