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Pirapaharan discusses Colombo crisis, CFA with Patten

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 26 November 2003, 07:09 GMT]
"Our leader Mr. Velupillai Pirapaharan told Mr. Patten it is not at all in the hands of the Liberation Tigers to ensure that there is no return to violence and that it is completely up to the Sinhala polity to see there is no return to war. Mr. Pirapaharan very clearly explained to Mr. Patten that we remain committed to resolving the conflict peacefully," said Mr. S. P Thamilchelvan, speaking to media following the meeting between the leader of the Liberation Tigers and the European Union’s Commissioner for External Relations Wednesday in Kilinochchi.

"We told Mr. Patten the peace process and the ceasefire have benefited only the Sinhala nation. The Tamils in the northeast have seen little in the 21 months since the ceasefire was signed," Mr. Thamilchelvan said.

Pirapaharan meets EU commissioner
Mr. Patten wishing the LTTE leader

Mr. Patten spoke briefly to reporters at the Kilinochchi grounds before boarding the Sri Lanka Air Force Helicopter. He said he will speak about his meeting with the LTTE leader in detail at the press conference scheduled later in the day in Colombo.

Mr. Patten said that he had emphasised the importance of "people turning their backs on violence for good ahead of the peace process."

Mr. Thamilchelvan who accompanied Mr. Patten to the Kilinochchi grounds spoke at length to the local media persons who were gathered there.

"Did Mr. Patten tell you about the meeting he had had with the Sri Lankan President?" a journalist asked the head of the LTTE’s political division.

"Yes. He told us about it. He said that President Kumaratunga is also keen to find solve the problem through peaceful, negotiated means. We are closely watching the situation in the south. We told Mr. Patten we will wait patiently until a firm political leadership emerges in the south that can take forward the peace process. Hence this is not the right context for us to send any message to Sri Lanka’s President now," Mr. Thamilchelvan replied.

"It is not a question of talking to Chandrika. What will matter in the future would be her commitment to the peace," he said, answering another question regarding the possibility of starting peace talks with President Kumaratunga.

"This is an important meeting. It was very satisfactory and gave hope. Most importantly we discussed the crisis in the south. We discussed how it could adversely affect the peace process. In this context Mr. Patten was keen to find out about the LTTE’s stand regarding the peace process and the ceasefire agreement."

"Our national leader very clearly explained the importance of peace talks. He told Mr. Patten that we are firmly committed to peaceful means of finding a solution (to the conflict) that will satisfy the aspirations of our people.

"Mr. Pirapaharan very clearly stressed to Mr. Patten that we remain firmly committed to the smooth and proper implementation of the ceasefire agreement," Mr. Thamilchelvan said.

A journalist asked him whether they had sought the lifting of the ban on the LTTE during the meeting.

"No we did not take up the matter at all – because many EU officials have met us. They have met our leader too. European countries have concern for our people’s aspirations, they have expectations towards us. Hence we did not take up the issue of the ban," Mr. Thamilchelvan replied.

"We explained to Mr. Patten the aspirations of our people. We told him that 21 months have passed since the ceasefire agreement was signed; but that the provisions of the ceasefire are not properly implemented; that our people have not seen any tangible progress or benefit; that military restrictions on them are continuing, normalcy is yet to be restored in the northeast."

"Our leader told Mr. Patten that the ceasefire and the peace talks have not led to development or reconstruction in the Tamil homeland. The international community is concerned that the instability in the south will eventually precipitate war. Mr. Patten expressed these concerns of the international community during the talks with our leader," Mr. Thamilchelvan said.

Dr. Jay Maheswaran, Mr. Thamilchelvan and Mr. Thangan welcoming Mr. Patten at the Kilinochchi grounds

Pirapaharan meets EU commissioner Pirapaharan meets EU commissioner
Pirapaharan meets EU commissioner Pirapaharan meets EU commissioner
Pirapaharan meets EU commissioner Pirapaharan meets EU commissioner
Pirapaharan meets EU commissioner Pirapaharan meets EU commissioner

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