All 20 TNA Parliamentarians issue joint statement
[TamilNet, Thursday, 08 April 2004, 04:42 GMT]
"In view of the speculative reports in the media, all Members of Parliament elected from the North-Eastern region in the name of Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchchi emphatically state that we are unequivocally and irrevocably committed to the political aspirations of the Tamil people for over the past fifty years for self rule in a unified north-eastern region, which has been the acknowledged as the area of historical habitation of the Tamil speaking people," said 20 Tamil National Alliance parliamentarians in a joint statement issued Wednesday night after two days of discussions held in Colombo.
The two-day talks began on Tuesday evening concluded on the first day around ten p.m. The second day discussion resumed Wednesday morning around 10 a.m. and ended around nine p.m., TNA sources said.
Meanwhile, a LTTE official from Killinochchi also had separate discussions with the TNA parliamentarians of Batticaloa and Amparai districts, sources said.
All the 20 MPs have signed the press statement in the following order: -
Mr.R.Sampanthan (Parliamentary group leader), Mr. Mavai Senathirajah (Deputy Leader), Mr.Selvam Adaikalanathan (Party Whip), Mr.Gajendrakumar G.Ponnambalam, Mr.Suresh Premachchandran, Mr.N.Raviraj, Mr.M.K.Sivajilingam, Mr.N. Sivasakthi Anandan, Mr.K.Thurairetnasingham, Mr.S.Gajendran, Ms Padmini Sithamparanathan, Mr.K.Sivanesan, Mr.S.Kanagaratnam, Mr.S.Kisshor, Mr.S. Noharathalingam, Mr. T.Kanagasabai, Ms K.Thangeswari, Mr.K.Rasanayagam, Mr.S. Jeyanandamoorthy and Mr. K.Pathmanathan
The full text of the statement follows: -
|(Signatures of TNA MPs (Click on the image for a larger version)
"The Tamil people have for over the past 55 years struggled to achieve substantial autonomy and self rule in the North-East. The failure on the part of the Sri Lankan State to resolve the Tamil National Question in a just and acceptable manner, resulted in the demand for total sovereignty an a separate state.
"The armed struggle of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which followed, lasted for 20 years. The Sri Lankan State eventually accepted that the Tamil National Question could only be resolved through meaningful and credible negotiations.
"A ceasefire agreement was signed on the 22nd of February 2002 and negotiations commenced between the Sri Lankan State and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as the sole and authentic representatives of the Tamil people.
"The LTTE delivered to the Sri Lankan State written proposals for the setting up of an Interim Self-Governing Authority in the North-East on the 31st of October 2003. Far reaching changes in the structure of governance on the 4th of November 2003 and the resultant political instability resulted in the General Elections held on the 2nd of April 2004.
"The Tamil National Alliance contested the said parliamentary Elections under the name and symbol of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchchi on the firm policy that an Interim Self-Governing Authority with substantial powers of governance should be constituted for the North-Eastern region at the earliest
"The said policy enunciated that it is imperative that the hundreds of thousands of displaced Tamil civilians should be resettled in their homes in the North-East, and rehabilitated; that the devastated North east should be rebuilt and reconstructed and the normalcy should return to the lives of the people in the North -East.
"Normalcy has not returned to the lives of the Tamil people in the North-East, though more than two years have lapsed since the ceasefire agreement and the stoppage of the war.
"This objective is achievable only through the setting up of an Interim Self-Governing Authority for the North-East with substantial powers of governance.
"All Members of Parliament elected under the name and symbol of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchchi and constituting the Tamil National Alliance urge that steps be taken forthwith to commence negotiations with the LTTE as the sole and authentic representatives of the Tamil people, for the setting up of an Interim Self-Governing Authority for the North-East, on the basis of the proposals submitted by the LTTE on 31st October 2003.
"All members of Parliament so elected commit ourselves wholeheartedly on the basis of the unequivocal mandate received from the people of the North-East, at the last General Election, to unitedly and in unison strive both within Parliament and outside, particularly to muster the support of the international community to ensure that negotiations commence with the LTTE and that such an Interim Self-Governing Authority is set up for the North-East at the earliest.
"We strongly submit that the agony and anguish of the Tamil people cannot continue and there is an imperative need to bring the same to an end without further delay.
"In view of the speculative reports in the media, all Members of parliament elected from the North-Easter region in the name of Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchchi emphatically state that we are unequivocally and irrevocably committed to the political aspirations of the Tamil people for over the past fifty years for self rule in a unified north-eastern region, which has been the acknowledged historical habitation of the Tamil speaking people. This we assert is the unquestionable verdict of the Tamil people as manifested at the last general elections, and we shall with dedication work towards the achievment of this goal.
"We also remain committed to ensure that any interim or final solution addresses the concerns of our Tamil speaking Muslim brethren in the North-East in a manner acceptable to them and that no injustice is done to any people living in the North-East."