International Community's flawed approach assists Colombo- Thamilchelvan

[TamilNet, Sunday, 28 January 2007, 15:07 GMT]
Liberation Tigers Political Head S. P. Thamilchelvan, in an Interview to TamilNet Sunday, said the passive stance adopted by the International Community, which he characterized as “unconstructive engagement,” is encouraging Colombo to pursue its power-centric politics and aggressive military agenda. The International Community, while making statements that a military solution is not possible, is either unable to, or unwilling to, exert its formidable muscle to force Colombo out of the current military path, despite the patience shown by the Tigers, he said.

"We would never, under any circumstance, engage militarily and simultaneously enter talks," Mr. Thamilchelvan said.

"The process towards a negotiated settlement can only take place in a environment conducive to talks. The LTTE has been explicitly stated the conditions necessary to create such environment,” Tiger political head said.

Mr. S. P. Thamilchelvan
Political Head of the LTTE S. P. Thamilchelvan
The most basic of these conditions were agreed upon and laid down in the Cease Fire Agreement of February 2002.

Over the last few years the LTTE leadership has been patient and tolerant in sustaining possibilities for Colombo to commit to, and to implement the basic clauses of the CFA agreement.

"Our tolerance was aimed at providing space for Colombo to re-engage in the process in a meaningful way.

"We had repeatedly respected the call by the International Community to be flexible," Thamilchelvan said.

The LTTE Political Head referred to Geneva Talks I in February 2006 and Geneva Talks II in October 2006.

"Within the 8-months between the Geneva-I talks and Geneva-II, Colombo had transformed the proxy war into a full-scale war," Thamilchelvan said.

It is after the Geneva - I talks, when Colombo promised to the International Community to disarm the paramilitaries, as stipulated in the CFA clause 1.8, paramilitary opened the so-called "political offices," in Batticaloa, Colombo, Amparai and Trincomalee. This was clearly a counter-tactic to resist the mounting pressure from International community, which had confronted the Government with credible evidence of paramilitary collusion with the Sri Lankan military.

The paramilitaries even claimed responsibility of carrying out attacks on LTTE posts from their offices.

"Assassinations, killings of civilians and forced disappearances by the Sri Lankan military and paramilitary became widespread. Humanitarian agencies were systematically harassed, blocked and threatened with killings and intimidation. An economic blockade was clamped in the east, and the access routes were closed. Aerial bombardment and shelling targeted civilians, forcing displaced people on foot from place to place with the aim of evicting people from our administrative areas in the East.

"Even the civilian and medical refuges were attacked, disregarding the International Law of Armed Conflict," Thamilchelvan said.

While the International Community urged the Sri Lankan political leaders to work towards a radical re-configuration of polity with “dramatic political changes,” desist from reneging from the special arrangements supporting the merger of NorthEast, and that a military solution was not possible, Colombo was allowed to pursue exactly the opposite. Colombo continued to placate the International Community with the appointment of a new All Party Conference, and other committees for investigating killings, and embarked on measures to gain political advantage within the Southern polity by signing MoUs with other parties.

In the process, Colombo by clever use of its politicized judiciary, rejected the concept of Tamil homeland by nullifying the 18-year merger of Northern and Eastern Province, the “International treaty” architected by India.

In this backdrop, Tamil people find little comfort in the statements and expression of concerns released by the International Community, as Colombo continues its military agenda that has depopulated areas historically inhabited by Tamils, and has brought enormous suffering to the Tamils in the east.

Tamil people increasingly view with skepticism the approach by International Community towards the two protoganists in the Sri Lanka conflict. They see the approach as unfairly biased against the Liberation Tigers who the Tamils see as the only credible bulwark to safeguard the rights and dignity of Tamil people who have a long history of political struggle for self-determination.


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