TULF's bona fides questioned

[TamilNet, Saturday, 12 May 2001, 17:13 GMT]
The Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) Saturday called upon the Government and the main opposition party, the United National Party (UNP), to take every possible step to facilitate the commencement of a constructive dialogue that would end the conflict "within the framework upon the basis of which the Norwegian initiative has commenced". Opposition sources, however, charged that the TULF has issued the statement "in cahoots with the government" to scuttle the UNP's no confidence motion. "We wonder why the TULF had to rush at this point to assert that 'the present is an opportune moment' to resolve the conflict?" they questioned.

A spokesperson for the ten party Tamil alliance in which the TULF is also a member said "the party's leadership has been prevaricating on some fundamental issues for many months. There seems to be a clear reason behind the urgency of the TULF statement today. The urgency is also manifest in news stories in the state media today about the progress of the understanding between the LTTE and the government. In fact a widely read Tamil affairs columnist in the Sunday Leader paper has alleged last week that the TULF had urged the British government to ban the LTTE".

"If they are so keen to see both sides talking why haven't they thought it important to explain implications of the 'Proscription of the Liberation Tigers Act' to the Tamil people and urged the government to repeal it?" the spokesperson asked.

An Executive Committee meeting of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) was held Saturday at the party office at Colombo. After lengthy deliberations its Secretary-General issued the following statement: -

"The present is the most opportune time for the evolution of a just durable and peaceful solution to the Tamil National question.

"The vast majority of all people in the country (in particular, the Tamil people in the North-East who have borne the brunt of the war) are yearning for peace, and very much desire that they should not continue to be subjected to the suffering and hardship inflicted on them by a continuing war.

"The Norwegian government at the invitation of the Sri Lankan Government, with the consent of the L.T.T.E. continues to play an effective role towards the negotiation of an acceptable political settlement.

"The search for peace has the fullest support of the International Community, which has greatly contributed towards the strengthening of the peace process.

"This is the first time since the Indian initiative in the 1980's, that a historic opportunity has presented itself for a just and durable peaceful resolution of the Tamil National Question through negotiations.

"The TULF considers it most regrettable that smooth progress towards the commencement of negotiations has been impeded by certain events. The TULF states that the launching of the "Agni Kheela I" military offensive by the Government Forces on the 25th April, in the Jaffna peninsula, was a monumental military misadventure which only entailed the loss of over 600 precious lives, and grievous to many more other hundreds of young persons on both sides. Such tragic military exercises in futility can only disrupt the meaningful search for a peaceful solution to the Tamil National question and cause greater suffering and hardship to the Tamil civilian populace.

"The TULF strongly holds the view that the conduct of serious negotiations while continuing to fight a fierce war, is an unrealistic proposition and cannot end in success. The TULF strongly appeals to both sides to the military conflict, to bring all military operations to an end, and constructively engage themselves in the negotiation of a just and durable peaceful resolution to the Tamil National question.

"The TULF appreciates the reiteration of the continued commitment of both the Government and the LTTE. To the pursuit of the Norwegian initiative. The TULF appeals to both the Government and the LTTE to extend their fullest support to the Norwegian initiative so that early constructive negotiations could commence.

"The TULF calls upon the Government and the main opposition party the United National Party (UNP) to recognise that the Sri Lankan State is primarily responsible for the outbreak of the current violent conflict, which has inflicted immense suffering and hardship on the Tamil people and that it behoves the Sri Lankan Government and the main opposition party the UNP to take every possible step to facilitate the commencement of a constructive dialogue that would end the conflict within the framework upon the basis of which the Norwegian initiative has commenced."

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