TNA briefs new US Ambassador in Colombo

[TamilNet, Thursday, 09 October 2003, 15:36 GMT]
A delegation of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Thursday told the new US Ambassador in Sri Lanka, Mr. Jeff Lunstead, that the US government should have helped to take forward the peace process by lifting the ban on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, TNA sources said.

The TNA met with the US Ambassador Thursday morning at the latter's official residence in Colombo.

“It is sad to note that the US government has re-imposed its ban on the LTTE at a time when it has committed itself to finding a political solution to the conflict through negotiations," the TNA sources quoted the delegation as saying to the Ambassador.

“The decision to ban the LTTE was not a permanent one. It could be changed. But the US government expected some changes in the LTTE’s stand on certain issues,” Mr. Lunstead told the TNA delegation.

The TNA delegation, led by its parliamentary group leader, Mr.R.Sampanthan, comprised parliamentarians Mr. G.G.Gajendrakumar, Mr.N.Raviraj and Mr.Suresh Premachchandran.

The US embassy’s political secretary was present with Mr.Lunstead at the discussion, which commenced at about 10.30 a.m and lasted for more than an hour, sources said.

The TNA delegation briefed the US Ambassador in detail about the resettlement of thousands of internally displaced Tamil families in and out of the high security zones in the Northeast province and the need for the establishment of an interim administration with adequate powers.

The TNA delegation said the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) has not only failed to extend its co-operation for resettling the IDPs in their lands and houses but it behaves like an enemy against the IDPs, sources said.

The TNA pointed out that since the signing of the ceasefire agreement, the IDPs are still languishing in welfare centers and refugee camps without any hope of returning to their lands. “The IDPs are a disappointed lot and the international community and the Sri Lankan government should take note of this situation,” the TNA told the Ambassador, according to sources.

Regarding the proposed interim administration for the northeast province, the TNA delegation told the US ambassador that the interim administrative structure now under consideration by both concerned parties should act as a vehicle to reach the final political solution to the conflict, TNA sources said.

Adequate powers should be devolved on the interim administrative structure to rebuild the war-ravaged province, rehabilitate the ruined economy of the province and resettling thousands of internally displaced families in their own homes and lands, the TNA said


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