"Will talk to any government with clear authority" – Col. Karuna

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 10 February 2004, 14:17 GMT]
"We are prepared to talk to any government that comes to power in Sri Lanka with clear authority and power. We are ready to negotiate with them to settle the conflict by peaceful means. We are also firmly committed to observing the ceasefire agreement. We urge the Sinhala people to reject obscurantism and chauvinism and to choose political forces that are forward looking for the sake of peace and progress," said Col. Karuna, senior commander of the Liberation Tigers Tuesday.

He was speaking to the press after meeting Maj. Gen.(ret) Trond Furuhovde, the head of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, at the Thenaham Conference Centre of the Liberation Tigers in Karadiyanaaru, 24 kilometers northwest of Batticaloa Tuesday afternoon.

"We will not interfere in the general elections in the east. The polls will be free and fair here. We are living in a modern, changing world. We have to be in tune with the times. Sinhala leaders who may come to power should grasp this and think progressively about settling the ethnic problem by peaceful means," Col. Karuna said.

Asked about the Sinhala nationalist policies of the SLFP-JVP alliance, the LTTE commander said: "It would be considered reactionary in this modern world. The growth and spread of such nationalism would eventually become dangerous to everyone."

He said that the JVP’s stand against third party facilitation in the Sri Lanka’s conflict is totally unacceptable. "Everyone has understood the need for third party facilitation. We need certainly. The situation could get dangerous if there is no third party to facilitate," Col. Karuna said.

"Sinhala leaders who come to power should positively consider the proposals we have submitted to them to settle the conflict peacefully. We have made suggestions that are acceptable to the modern world. Our leader has clearly stated our stand on peace. We have handed over a proposal for an Interim Self Governing Authority. It is upto the Sinhala leaders who get elected to respond positively and constructively to our suggestions," he added.

The LTTE commander said that the dissolution of the Parliament was expected and that it did not come as a surprise.

He said that he had discussions with the SLMM head about observing the ceasefire and maintaining cordial relations with regional SLMM delegations and the Sri Lankan armed forces.

The Thenaham Conference Centre in Karadiyanaaru


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