Thamilchelvan says doors to peace wide open

[TamilNet, Monday, 28 July 2003, 06:42 GMT]
“The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are keenly studying the proposal for an interim administrative structure sent by the Sri Lankan government although it fails to meet the expectations of the Tamil people”, said Mr. S. P Thamilchelvan addressing more than five thousand troops of the LTTE’s southern front forces on the grounds of ‘Meenaham’, a sprawling military base complex in Tharavai, about 40 kilometres northwest of Batticaloa, late Sunday night.

Mr. Thamilchelvan, the head of the LTTE’s political division, arrived in Batticaloa Sunday on a weeklong tour and consultations, sources close to the Tigers in the eastern town told TamilNet.

The IA proposal sent by Colombo to the LTTE has several shortcomings and the LTTE leadership is now studying the proposal in consultation with its legal/constitutional experts, Mr. Thamilchelvan said.

“We will submit our counter proposals to the UNF government which could satisfy the expectations and reflect the interests of our people. We are prepared to recommence peace talks if the government accepts our counter proposals. We would be glad if the government comes forward to solve the Tamil people’s problem through peaceful means, understanding our stand,” he added.

“We are keeping the doors to peace wide open. We would be very happy if the Sinhala polity avails itself of this singular opportunity for achieving permanent peace in this island. We are able to negotiate peace because we are militarily powerful today. In the past, the international community acquiesced when the Sri Lankan armed forces massacred so many people and destroyed many Tamil villages in Ten-Thamileelam (the island’s east coast). When we were militarily not strong, the international community took no note of our people’s plight”, Mr. Thamilchelvan said.

“There is a campaign among Singhalese that we are modernizing and expanding our armed forces to prepare for war. This is not true. The truth is that we are doing so to sustain our strength in order to protect our own people. We need power to make progress in the peace talks and to face a war if one is thrust on us. We are building up our military strength not to oppress another nation or to destroy another people but to protect our society and nation”, he emphasised.

The LTTE’s political division leader spoke at length about the vital role played by troops from the Batticaloa-Amparai District in the war to safeguard the Vanni heartland and in the major offensives against the SLA in the north that led to the fall of Elephant Pass and other key garrisons.

Mr. Thamilchelvan was addressing a rally on the grounds of the ‘Meenaham’ military base to mark the eighth death anniversary of Lt. Col. Anparasi, an LTTE woman commander who was killed when the Tigers overran a Sri Lanka army camp at Pondugal Chenai, near Tharavai on 27 July 1995.

Earlier in the day he declared open a memorial for Lt. Col. Anparasi.

Col. Karuna, special commander of the LTTE’s Southern Front Forces, Mr. T. Ramesh, special commander for the Batticaloa-Amparai District and Ms. Nilavini, the commander of the LTTE’s women’s units of the LTTE’s armed forces in the district also addressed the rally Sunday night.

Mr. Thamilchelvan is expected to meet government officials, civil society leaders and journalists in the east during his stay, sources close to the Tigers in Batticaloa told TamilNet.


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