3RD LEAD

'EU Statement, an impediment to peace, says IFT

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 27 September 2005, 20:16 GMT]
Calling the statement from the European Union [EU], which criticised the Liberation Tigers, as one-sided and "unfair," the Geneva-based International Federation of Tamils (IFT), a consortium of more than 150 expatriate Tamil organizations, in a press statement issued Tuesday urged the member states of the European Union to refrain from taking any "punitive action" against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) noting that the move will jeopardise the success of the peace process.

"The International Federation of Tamils (IFT), wishes to express, on behalf of the Tamil Diaspora, its shock and exasperation at the lopsided EU statement on 'Terrorism in Sri Lanka,' issued on 26.09.05 condemning the LTTE."

"The decision not to receive any LTTE delegations into any of the EU Member States denies the Tamil people and the LTTE the opportunity to present their case to the EU countries. It also denies them of the chance to continue gaining first hand information of the democratic institutions in the West," the release said.

"Member States of the European Union provided sanctuary and asylum to Tamils two decades ago recognizing the danger faced by Tamils from oppressive Sinhala governments and extreme Sinhala nationalists. The IFT fears the recent EU Declaration will again rekindle hostile sentiments towards the Tamils," the release added.

Pointing out that both sides of the conflict stand accused for the politically motivated killings in the east, the release said that it was "unfair" to accuse only the LTTE which is a key stake holder in the peace process, for the violence.

"IFT believes that the European Union Declaration has done irreparable damage to the peace process at a time when the extreme Sinhala nationalist rhetoric is escalating in southern parts of Sri Lanka," the press release said.

EU Declaration provides moral support to the Sinhala nationalists who have joined the Presidential candidate, Mr Mahinda Rajapakse calling for the abrogation of the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA), and the Post-Tsunami Operations and Management Structure (P-TOMS), the IFT release said.

"On behalf of the Tamil people, the IFT pleads with each Member State of the European Union to refrain from taking any additional punitive action against the LTTE, as it will affect all Tamils, both at home, as well as in Europe, and will jeopaordise the success of the peace process.

"The IFT pleads for restraint and understanding," the release said.

 

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