Sinhala nationalists protest against talks

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 20 December 2000, 14:34 GMT]
The militant Sinhala Buddhist nationalist group, the National Movement Against Terrorism (NMAT), urged the Sri Lanka army to continue the war until the Liberation Tigers are defeated when they met the SLA commander Lt.Gen. Lionel Balagalle Wednesday and gave him a memorandum against peace talks to end the ethnic conflict in the island. The NMAT held a protest in downtown Colombo against peace talks Wednesday afternoon. Protesters burnt an effigy of LTTE leader Velupillai Pirapaharan and poked fun at two persons dressed up as Norwegian peace emissary Eric Soleheim and British Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Peter Hain.

The leader of the NMAT, Mr.Champika Ranawaka addressed the protesters, lambasting the main political parties for soft peddling the Tamil question and the LTTE. "Kill Prabhaharan and bring his head", "No talks until (we) recapture Mullaithivu and the Vanni, "Defeat the (peace) NGOs" the protesters shouted. NMAT members and supporters, including Buddhist clergy, marched to the SLA headquarters in downtown Colombo after the protest meeting. Only four of them, including a Buddhist monk, were permitted inside restricted area of the SLA headquarters compound to meet the army commander.

The NMAT memorandum, written in Sinhala, urges the army not to accede to cease fires with the Liberation Tigers under any circumstance, arguing that the LTTE had availed itself of cease fires in the past to strengthen itself militarily.

The army should not serve the interests of politicians but should have a responsibility towards the people in the conduct of the war, according to the NMAT.

"You should press on with the war. The people are behind you. The war is being prosecuted according to political time tables", the NMAT memorandum tells the army.

The NMAT blamed the peace talks in 1994-95 for the death of more than 13000 soldiers since then.

The NMAT requested the Sri Lanka army to: "Use all your resources until you destroy the enemy. "Avoid a ceasefire at any time if such a situation were to arise."



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