TNA appeals to India not to harm peace efforts

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 01 December 2004, 14:33 GMT]
''The prime need in Sri Lanka, today, is the peaceful resolution of the Tamil question. The Tamil people are confident that India will not act in a manner harmful to Tamil interests. The Tamil people appeal to Indian government that the conclusion of the Indo-Sri Lanka defence co-operation agreement, and the commencement of development activities in the North-East with the military dimension be not proceeded with, '' said a press release issued by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Wednesday.

Parliamentarians Messrs R.Sampanthan, Mavai Senathirajah , Selvam Adaikalanathan, Suresh Premachchandran, G.G.Ponnambalam, M.K.Eelaventhan, Joseph Pararajasingham, N.Raviraj, Kiddnan Sivanesan and Ms. Padmini Sithamparanathan signed the press release.

The full text of the press release follows:

The proposed Indo-Sri Lanka Defence Co-operation Agreement has raised much apprehension amongst the Tamil people.

The Tamil question remains unresolved. During the past year, the peace process has suffered severe setbacks. The Tamil people are beginning to entertain serious doubts about the commitment of the Sri Lankan state to resolve the Tamil question peacefully through negotiations.

The efforts to conclude a defence co-operation agreement with India in this background, is seen by the tamil people as a deliberate move by the Sri Lankan state to strengthen itself militarily.

The ceasefire agreement was concluded after a long and bitter-armed conflict. The Tamil people suffered immensely as a result of the armed conflict. Their suffering has not ended yet, and hundreds of thousands of Tamil people yet continue to be refugees and homeless. The Sri Lankan state entered in to a ceasefire, and commenced negotiations with the LTTE with the aid of an international facilitator, because the Sri Lankan state accepted that there could not be a military solution to the Tamil question.

The basis of the ceasefire agreement was the military balance that existed between the parties to the armed conflict.

The Tamil people strongly feel that it would be unjust by them, for this military balance to be altered before an acceptable negotiated resolution of the Tamil question is evolved.

The Sri Lankan state has over fifty years failed to evolve a just solution to the Tamil question. India is fully aware of the intransigence of the Sri Lankan state in evolving an acceptable solution to the Tamil question. The Sri Lankan state is even today ambivalent in regard to the basis upon which peace talks could be commenced.

The LTTE has more than one year ago, submitted in writing, detailed proposals in regard to an interim self-governing authority. The LTTE simultaneously requested that dates be fixed for the commencement of talks on the said proposals. The LTTE has agreed to discuss any proposals the Government brings to the negotiating table in regard to the ISGA.

The pathetic position of hundreds of thousands of displaced Tamil people renders such an interim authority an imperative need. The United National Party has publicly announced its willingness to unconditionally support any agreement arrived at between the Government and the LTTE. With the support of the Tamil National Alliance, and other political parties represented in parliament, the Government is assured of a two-thirds majority in parliament, in support of any agreement relating to the ISGA.

The Government is yet reluctant to send an unequivocal message to the LTTE in regard its willingness to commence talks on the ISGA. This attitude of the Government diminishes the confidence of the Tamil people in the Government's commitment to a negotiated political solution, and accentuates the fear that the Government is creating an environment that could lead to the resumption of the war.

It is in this background that the Tamil people fear that an Indo-Sri Lanka defence co-operation agreement would be harmful to the peace process and consequently to the interests of the Tamil people.

The Tamil people are conscious of India's concerns in regard to the possible involvements of others, Sri Lanka in a manner adverse to India's legitimate concerns.

However, the prime need in Sri Lanka, today, is the peaceful resolution of the Tamil question. The Tamil people are confident that India will not act in a manner harmful to Tamil interests. The Tamil people for the aforestated reasons, appeal that the conclusion of the Indo-Sri Lanka defence co-operation agreement, and the commencement of development activities in the North-East with the military dimension be not proceeded with.

 

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