US urged to pressure Sri Lanka over talks

[TamilNet, Thursday, 19 April 2001, 23:09 GMT]
The United States should pressure the Sri Lankan government to cease its war and seek negotiations with the Liberation Tigers, the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) urged a visiting senior US official Thursday. "It is impossible to seek peace while the government insists on continuing the war," Mr.Rajavarothiam Sampanthan, Secretary General of the TULF told Mr. Adolfo Franco, Counsel for the International Relations Committee of the US Congress, who is in Colombo meeting political leaders with regards to the Norwegian peace efforts.

Mr. Sampanthan told TamilNet he met Mr. Franco on this, his second visit to Sri Lanka, at the residence of Ashley Wills, the United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka.

"The visiting US diplomat and the Ambassador in Colombo feel that a political solution should be found on the basis of self-rule for the northeastern [Tamil] region," Mr. Sampanthan said.

"Furthermore they understand that Tamils have been unsuccessfully campaigning for several years to achieve their aspirations through their moderate leaders," he said further.

The TULF official said he had appealed to the US diplomat to exert pressure on the both the government and the main opposition United National Party-to come to a consensus to carry forward the political solution found at the peace talks with the Liberation Tigers.

During the discussions, Mr. Sampanthan had queried the viability of peace talks being held amidst ongoing fighting. "The brutal war should first be brought to an end to create a conducive environment to remove the existing mistrust between the warring parties. Thereafter peace talks should commence without any delay," Mr. Sampanthan said.

"Tamils of this country are agitating for over four decades for self-rule in their northeastern region. The Sinhalese are not clamouring for devolution of power in their regions. Therefore the proposed political solution should be found exclusively for Tamils based on asymmetrical devolution," the TULF official said.

"The Tamil leadership had signed several agreements and pacts with successive governments to achieve their aspirations. However the chauvinist elements in those governments had thwarted all their attempts," Mr. Sampathan said.

"Now the international community has a responsibility to see that the same fate should not be repeated in future when a political solution is found," he said further.


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