Diaspora Tamil Organizations welcome Geneva Joint Statement

[TamilNet, Monday, 27 February 2006, 12:21 GMT]
The International Federation of Tamils (IFT), a Geneva based consortium of Tamil diaspora organisations, in a press release issued Monday commended the facilitators Norway, Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse and the Liberation Tigers for bringing "relief to all peace loving people in the island." The press release also urged Mr Rajapakse to "use his power, influence and goodwill to prevail on those paramilitary cadres and get the seven TRO volunteers released immediately."

Full text of the press release follows:

The International Federation of Tamils, IFT, welcomes the Joint Statement issued by the Norwegian Facilitator on behalf of the government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE on Thursday 23 February 2006, at the end of the two days of Peace Talks held in Geneva. It brought great relief to all peace loving people in the island, especially to the people living in the traditional homeland of Tamils in the island where civilians are facing untold hardships, insults and intimidation culminating in involuntary disappearances at the hands of State armed forces and paramilitary groups attached to them. The agreement by both parties to meet for another round of talks in April at the same venue is a credit to both, the facilitators and the hosts.

The Tamil Diaspora, anxious for the safety and welfare of their kith and kin at home, is grateful to Hon Erik Solheim, the Minister for Overseas Development and Special Envoy for peace initiative and his team from the Norwegian government for taking a bold initiative and succeeding in getting both parties to agree on the joint statement when the world thought all was lost with the statement made by the leader of the government team during the opening session, in which he had rejected the Cease Fire Agreement of 2002, and proposed discussion on a new format, a deviation from the original purpose of the meeting. IFT considers it a stroke of diplomatic acumen on the part of the International Community in coursing the talks to the confines of the agenda and getting the parties agree on a joint statement.

IFT wishes to thank President Mahinda Rajapakse for finally accepting the advice of the International Community and for accepting the Cease Fire Agreement of 2004 and for ensuring that no armed group will be allowed to carry arms or conduct armed operations in the North-East. It is IFT's earnest request to President Rajapakse t

IFT wishes to thank the LTTE for its assurance, at the facilitator’s request to respect and uphold the Cease Fire Agreement and to continue cooperating with the rulings of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission. IFT pleads with the LTTE that it should at the next round of Talks take up the humanitarian issues of more than 30,000 internally displaced Tamil families and end their misery by ensuring their settlement back in their own traditional and legal homes and villages and by obtaining for Tamil fishermen their unbridled fishing rights in the traditional fishing grounds, denied to them during the last thirty years.

IFT considers the agreement to hold another round of peace talks in April a positive sign for improvement and compliance in future relationship but requests the LTTE to take a lesson from the past and not to rush into another round of talks before the agreed tasks are fulfilled. To Switzerland for its benevolence and magnanimity in providing the venue and for agreeing to hold the next round of talks again, on 19,20,21 April, IFT wishes to say, ‘Thank you.’ Switzerland’s quiet diplomacy and her role and function in the evolving Talks have earned her a unique respect in international peace brokerage and conflict resolution situations.

IFT wishes to recommend to the European Community a return to its position of neutrality a Co-Chair should hold in a peace negotiations environment and open its doors to the LTTE, the leader of the Tamil nation, providing a democratic access to easy consultation with thousands of expatriate Tamils residing in European countries on matters of peace and development in their traditional homeland.


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