Ceasefire, solution first; laying down arms irrelevant: LTTE appeals to Co-chairs, UN

[TamilNet, Monday, 23 February 2009, 03:58 GMT]
Urging International Community to effect a ceasefire and initiate a political solution as a priority than insisting LTTE to lay down arms, the Political Head of the Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam (LTTE), B. Nadesan, made an appeal Sunday to the heads of the Co-chairs countries saying that "when a permanent political solution is reached for the Tamil people, with the support and the guarantee of the international community, the situation will arise where there will be no need for the arms of the LTTE."

The LTTE's appeal is made at a time when media reports from Colombo indicate an initiative from the Tokyo Co-chairs to evacuate the civilians of Vanni and hand them over to the Colombo government.

LTTE's Political Head B. Nadesan
Earlier, the Tokyo Co-chairs urged the LTTE to discuss with the Government of Sri Lanka the modalities for ending hostilities, including the laying down of arms.

Colombo ruled out all possibilities of entering into any negotiation with the LTTE.

"The world should take note that calls for the LTTE to lay down its arms and surrender is not helpful for resolving the conflict," wrote Mr. Nadesan.

"The LTTE has [earlier] taken part in numerous peace efforts. No one insisted then that the LTTE should lay down its arms," Nadesan said in his letter.

Expecting the LTTE to lay down arms without political solution is degrading human struggle for freedom and amounts to congratulating genocide, he said.

The letter was addressed to Barack Obama, the president of the United States, José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General, the Security Council of the UN, Jens Stoltenberg, the prime minister of Norway and Taro Aso, the prime minister of Japan.

Full text of the letter follows:

22 February 2009

Expressing the Tamil position to the International Community

As the political representatives of the Tamil people, who are daily facing danger of genocide, we wish to put some information before the international community.

Before expressing our views on the partiality in the messages that the international community wishes to convey to the two sides (Sri Lanka Government-Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam), we wish to state some basic historical facts about our liberation struggle.

Tamil people are a nation in the island of Sri Lanka. The contiguous north-east part of the island is the traditional homeland of the Tamil people. For more than fifty years, the Sri Lankan Governments have attempted to suppress and oppress this ethnic community that has the right to nationhood and self determination. In this attempt, it has confiscated their land and committed genocidal attacks on this community.

The atrocities committed by the Sri Lankan Government on the Tamil people, whom it claims to be its own people, are blatant State Terrorism.

The Tamil community has been waging a struggle against this State Terrorism for more than fifty years.

At the start, for almost 25 years, this struggle with the aim to achieving self-determination was non-violent.

This non-violent struggle, accepted world wide as a lawful means of waging struggles, was suppressed with a lot of blood letting by the Sri Lankan Governments using its armed forces that was made up only of young men of Sinhala ethnicity.

At the same time, under the pretext of ethnic-riots, many genocidal acts were committed against the Tamil people with the support of the Sri Lankan Governments. With State assistance Sinhala people were settled on land belonging to the Tamils. Tamils were also discriminated in the areas of education, job opportunities and economic development.

The Sinhala-Tamil ethnic conflict was further sharpened by these oppressive actions. As the non-violent struggles of the Tamils became ineffective in the context of the violence of the Sri Lankan State, this external condition necessitated the Tamil struggle to become armed. This gave birth to the LTTE and which gave the leadership for this armed struggle.

It is the Tamil people and not the LTTE that chose the political aim of the Tamil people. In the parliamentary voting of 1977, the Tamil people through their voting announced to the world their political aim. Tamil people voted for the common decision of the Tamil political parties to establish an independent state in the joint north-east part of the island, the traditional homeland of the Tamils.

The LTTE took up the national duty of fulfilling the democratic verdict of the Tamil people.

The liberation struggle of the Tamil people gained fame on the world stage for its military feats over the last thirty years. It achieved this through the most supreme dedication that could be expected of liberation fighters.

Whenever the LTTE had the upper hand militarily, the Sri Lankan ruling party pretending to find a political solution came for peace talks. But, once finding the time space to strengthen its armed forces, the Sri Lankan ruling party disrupted the peace talks and again created the conditions for war.

The Sri Lankan Governments have staged this drama of deceiving the world and the Tamil people starting from the very first talks, after the launch of the armed struggle, in Thimbu in 1985 till the 2002 ceasefire agreement and the following five years of peace talks under Norway's facilitation.

With Norway's facilitation and the support of the Co-Chair countries, three important agreements were signed between the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE. The Sri Lankan Governments rejected all three agreements, the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement, the Post Tsunami Operations Management Structure, and Secretariat for Immediate Humanitarian and Rehabilitation for North East for the development of North East, dealt the final blow for peace.

The world knows how the Sri Lankan Government ignored the repeated calls of the international community to not seek a solution through war but to seek a political solution through talks.

No one except the LTTE had identified correctly the stance of the Sri Lankan State on the Sinhala-Tamil ethnic conflict. The LTTE has been saying for a long time that the Sri Lankan Governments have continued to seek a military solution to the conflict and they will never find a political solution to the conflict.

The Sri Lankan Government put forward its stance against a political solution and for a military solution in a style appealing to the international community as war on terrorism.

Just like how it formulated the liberation struggle of the Tamils as terrorism, it also used the pretext of "security reasons" to expel some humanitarian agencies and journalists. If any western diplomat or journalist dares to say that the Sinhala armed forces are violating the rights of the Tamil civilians, they are immediately categorized as "White Tigers" or terrorists.

The people of the world are watching the tolerance exhibited towards the atrocities of the Sri Lankan State just because of its status as a "State" and the rejection of the just struggle of the LTTE just because it does not have the status of a 'State".

From Hitler's government to Rwandan government to Sudan government, it is the governments that have been committing genocide. Sri Lankan Government is also committing numerous genocides against the Tamils. This genocide history that started in 1956 has expanded today. More than 200,000 people have already been killed in this genocidal history since 1956.

The international community, though it is hesitant to support the political aspirations of the Tamil people for an independent state, it must re-examine our point that an independent state is the only permanent solution to the Tamil-Sinhala conflict. Tamil people are frustrated and dejected after long years of massacres by the Sinhala armed forces and the Sinhala State.

The confidence of the Tamil people for living together has been destroyed by their huge losses, their untold miseries, and their haunting memories. This will never permit a peaceful life of equality between the Tamils and Sinhalese within Sri Lanka.

This is the ethno-political reality of this island. Brutal acts are being committed in Vanni at present further solidifying this ethno-political reality.

Weapons like artillery and multi-barrel launcher that are used by combatants against each other in war are used by the Sri Lankan armed forced on the Tamil civilians, and their IDP camps. Women, children and old people are getting killed, maimed and injured in thousands by these attacks.

For past few weeks from 50 to 100 Tamil civilians are daily getting killed by such attacks by the Sri Lankan armed forces. Already more than 2000 civilians have been killed and more than 5000 have been injured. It is painful to see the world maintaining silence on this immense human suffering as if it is amused by what is going on.

The Tamils of Tamil Eelam are facing the worst genocide of the 21st century.

In this situation, the LTTE is ready to accept the calls for a ceasefire issued by the international community with the good intention of ending the human suffering. The LTTE desires that this effort for a ceasefire to grow further into peace talks to seek a political solution to the ethnic conflict.

The world should take note that calls for the LTTE to lay down its arms and surrender is not helpful for resolving the conflict.

It is the political reality that the arms of the LTTE are the protective shield of the Tamil people and their tool for political liberation.

The LTTE has taken part in numerous peace efforts. No one insisted then that the LTTE should lay down its arms.

The protection of the Tamil people is dependent on the arms of the LTTE. When a permanent political solution is reached for the Tamil people with the support and the guarantee of the international community the situation will arise where there will be no need for the arms of the LTTE.

Expecting the LTTE to lay down the arms, when the Tamil people are facing a horrendous genocide - and in the absence of any efforts to find a political solution is degrading the centuries of human struggle for freedom. At the same time it also appears to be congratulating the Sri Lankan Government on its genocidal war.

Therefore, the LTTE appeals to the international community, to take actions to stop the genocidal attacks on the Tamil people rather than call for the laying down of the arms of the LTTE. International community should apply pressure of the Sri Lankan Government to seek not a military but a political solution to the ethnic conflict.

The international community must do everything in its power to bring a ceasefire so that the miseries of the Tamils in Vanni are brought to an end and they are protected and the food and medicine requirements for them are fulfilled.

We also wish to inform the international community that we are ready to discuss, co-operate, and work together in all their efforts to bring an immediate ceasefire and work towards a political settlement.

Yours Sincerely

B Nadesan
Head of the Political Wing of the LTTE



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