‘Sinhala leaders not interested in peace proposals’ - Ilamparuthy
[TamilNet, Sunday, 18 January 2004, 18:00 GMT]
“Events which followed the submission of our proposal for an Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA)- take over of ministries, the campaign to whip up Sinhala extremism- showed that Sinhala leaders are not interested in negotiations,” said Mr. C. Ilamparuthi, head of the LTTE’s political division in Jaffna, addressing a meeting in Oslo Saturday to mark the eleventh death anniversary of Col. Kittu, a senior Tiger commander. He urged India to come forward to develop a positive relationship with the LTTE.
Mr. Ilamparuthi said that the current attitude of the Sinhala masses towards peace should be seen as a positive development. He stressed the urgent need to resettle internally displaced families to their homes in the peninsula.
"The Liberation Tigers’ draft proposal provides an excellent framework for good governance and will pave the way to the peaceful and prosperous co-existence of all communities in the island with self-respect, dignity and human rights," Mr. Ilamparuthi said.
The following are some excerpts of his speech:
"In 2001 election manifesto, Ms. Chandrika Bandaranaike sought a mandate from the Sinhala masses to support her strategy of waging war while UNP leader Mr. Wickremasinghe sought a mandate for a peacefully negotiated settlement with the LTTE.
"Traditionally, the votes of the Sinhala masses were won by the party that displayed the most aggressive policy towards Tamils in its election campaign. This tradition was challenged for the first time in the elections of 2001. Sinhala masses voted for a peacefully negotiated settlement in that election. This was the first time in the history of Sri Lankan politics that a party promoting an aggressive policy of war against Tamils failed to get the support of the Sinhala masses.
"It is important to take note of this positive development. This is an important change. Sinhala leadership in the south should also consider this mandate in a positive light.
"We have a unique opportunity today to sustain the peaceful environment to find a just solution.
"The ISGA proposals we have put forward were developed with great involvement and commitment, incorporating the aspirations of our people and international standards. The draft provides an excellent framework for good governance and will pave the way to a peaceful and prosperous co-existence of all communities with self-respect, dignity and human rights in the island.
"We have taken note that the international community has welcomed many aspects of these draft proposals.
"Did the Sinhala leadership really appreciate the proposals? The events that followed the submission of the ISGA proposals - the take over of ministries, the campaign to whip up Sinhala extremism - do not indicate that the Sinhala leadership is interested in our suggestions.
"However it is important to note that the Sinhala masses are not yielding to the Sinhala extremist agenda. And those who adopt such strategies are being thwarted by the awakened Sinhala masses.
"We urge the Sinhala leadership in the south to come forward to engage in (the peace process) in a positive and constructive manner to build upon this unique opportunity.
"You are aware that our political advisor, Mr. Anton Balasingham, has clearly and firmly stated that we still remain committed for the truce and negotiations recently, our Head of Political Wing, Mr. Thamilchelvan has also expressed this clearly in Kilinochchi. He will brief European leaders regarding our commitment on his visit to Europe.
"I recall with great respect Col. Kittu's remarkable achievements when he was the commander of the Jaffna peninsula. He was not only an intelligent commander but he was also a good administrator, economic reformist and artist.
"Our leadership sent him to Europe, realising that Col. Kittu was the most appropriate commander to work on initiatives to explore international engagement in finding a just and peaceful solution (to the conflict).
"Col. Kittu sacrificed his life when he was returning home to take forward an initiative for a peaceful solution involving Quaker Peace organisation.
"From youngsters to elders, all members of our society will bear him in our hearts. It is with great honour we remember today the sacrifices made at the sea by Col. Kittu and the fellow members."