TNA briefs Australian parliamentarians on peace process

[TamilNet, Friday, 03 October 2003, 13:25 GMT]
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Friday told the visiting Australian parliamentary delegation that the establishment of an interim administration with adequate powers has become a sine qua non for rebuilding the war ravaged northeast province and to ensure the survival of the present peace environment, sources said. "There is no immediate opportunity to find a permanent political solution to the ethnic conflict under the current constitutional set up," the TNA's parliamentarians told the Australian delegation.

The TNA delegation was led by its parliamentary group leader, Mr.R.Sampanthan, and comprised parliamentarians Messrs. G.G.Gajendrakumar, M.K.Sivajilingam, N.Raviraj and EPRLF Secretary General Mr.Suresh Premachchandran. The Australian delegation, comprising Senators Messrs. Mark Bishop of Western Australia, Robert Ray of Victoria and parliamentarian Mr. Cameron Thompson of Queensland, was led by Senator John Watson of Tasmania.

The discussion, which commenced Friday morning around 10.30 at the official residence of the Australian High Commissioner in Colombo, lasted for about an hour.

The Australian High Commissioner and his deputy were present at the discussion, TNA sources said.

At the outset the TNA delegation pointed out to the visiting delegation the background of the fifty-year old ethnic conflict. The TNA said, according to sources, successive Sinhala dominated governments in power failed to keep the promises and agreements signed with the moderate Tamil leadership in fulfilling the legitimate aspirations of Tamil people, thus leading to the emergence of Tamil militancy as a last resort.

"The current peace process has commenced because governments in power could not find a military solution to the conflict. The current peace talks have come to a critical stage with the government submitting its interim administration proposals to the LTTE and it is expected that the LTTE would submit its response by the middle of the month," the TNA MPs told the Australian delegation.

TNA delegation further said that without an interim administrative structure with adequate powers, the war ravaged north east could not be rebuilt. The resettlement of more than one million displaced people should take place before the establishment of the interim administration, TNA stressed.

The government has not given a positive reply upto now in regard to the resettlement of the displaced inside and outside high security zones. "We are not asking the Sri Lanka Army to vacate the province completely. We want the army to make their security arrangements in such a way to allow the displaced people to occupy their own houses and lands," the TNA delegation told the Australian delegation.

In reply to a question by the Australian parliamentarians, TNA delegation said the LTTE is firmly committed to the success of the peace process.

"The military strength of the LTTE plays a vital role in the success of the peace talks and also to ensure the sincerity of the government to find an acceptable political solution to Tamils. Tamils feel that Colombo government would return to their old ways, as they reneged on agreements in the past with the Tamil moderate leadership, if the military might of the LTTE is weakened," the TNA told the visiting Australians. "The weakening of the LTTE's military might at this stage would cause a deeply negative impact on the success of the peace process."

 

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