3RD LEAD (Added details)

Colombo's political drama shatters hopes for peace- LTTE

[TamilNet, Monday, 18 July 2005, 03:14 GMT]
"As Tamil people have repeatedly witnessed in their tortuous history of the past several decades, Colombo has shown its reluctance to provide remedies to Tamil people even after humanitarian disasters of colossal proportions. Sinhala leaders under severe international pressure, signed the deal after dragging for six long months, the Sinhala chauvinists then staged protests to derail the deal, and when all techniques were exhausted Sinhala nationalists engaged the willing apex court to use constitutional reasoning to scuttle the deal," said S P Thamilchelvan after a 4-hour long meeting with the TNA leaders in Kilinochchi Sunday.

Mr. Thamilchelvan pointed out that the escalating shadow war in the east, Sri Lanka Government's reluctance to provide security to cadres forcing the LTTE to take counter measures, and scuttling of agreements that benefits Tamils are some of the ground conditions that have poisioned the tenuous peace.

"This doesn't come as a suprise for the Tamil people. During the more than three and half years of cessation of hostilities little has been achieved in terms of implementation of any remedial measure to alleviate the suffering of NorthEast Tamils. The Tamil National Alliance parliamentarians and the Liberation Tigers have agreed to unitedly work to highlight this sad state of affairs to the International community," said Thamilchelvan.

The pattern of behaviour of justice in the Sri Lankan state and the Supreme Court is well recorded. Everyone knows very well how the verdict of the Supreme Court when the culprits of a [Bindunuwewa] mass murder were brought to justice. They were simply set free by the Supreme Court, he said.

With the recent stay order, the hopes of achieving a solution through negotiations have been shattered, Mr. Thamilchelvan told the press.

Sri Lankan Forces and the Sinhala leadership alone have to decide how they are going to resolve the Tamil national question. We have repeatedly informed them that time was running out. Leader Pirapaharan has clearly spelt out to the Scandinavian monitors that Tamil people cannot wait indefinitely, Mr Thamilchelvan said.

Parliamentarians of Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in the meeting with the Liberation Tigers Political Head resolved to jointly explain to the International community the realities on the ground with regards to the current stalemate and controversy created by the Supreme Court's stay order and the Tamil stand with regards to the nature of the Sri Lankan Constitution, TNA officials said.

Translation of excerpts from the press briefing conducted in Tamil follows:

Question: Can you tell us the issues discussed in the meeting today with TNA parliamentarians?
Thamilchelvan: Although we have been meeting the TNA parliamentarians regularly today's meeting has special significance. Situation on the ground has deterioted to dangerous levels and there are no signs that our people will get help to rebuild their lives after tsunami. TNA parliamentarians told us that they will work diligently to inform the international community of the predicament of our people. Liberation Tigers will closely collaborate with TNA in this effort.

Question: Can you comment on the court decision on the Joint Mechanism?
Thamilchelvan: This is an unfortunate turn of events. Sinhala leaders have been using one strategy or another to scuttle any deal that provides some benefit to Tamils. Sinhala leaders often resorted to using Sinhala Buddhist chauvinists, extreme Sinhala nationlist parties, or Buddhist clergy and if all fails, using the judicial system to defend the injustices and institutionalized discrimination of Tamils. Joint Mechanism was drafted to provide swift redress to a people who have undergone untold hardships. The reaction of the Sinhala polity to this humanitarian deal can be explained in the above historical context. Sri Lanka's judicial system has always sided with the majority. Recent ruling on a mass murder [Bindunuwewa] trial where the supreme court acquitted all accused is a clear example of what Tamil people can expect from Sinhala justice system. Sri Lanka's parliamentary legislative history too contains several instances of enacting laws intended to suppress Tamil rights.

Question: What have you planned to do with the Joint Mechanism deal?
Thamilchelvan: Sri Lanka's President, under severe international pressure, signed the Joint Mechanism after delaying more than six months. Fully cognizant that similar delaying tactics will be employed during implementation, we warned the Norwegian facilitators on the day the agreement was signed that they should take steps to implement the JM without delay. The Government of Sri Lanka, after waiting nearly a month, announces its representative to the P-TOMS committee one day before the Court's ruling. This is part of their political theatrics. In this situation we no longer desire to babble further on the JM. Looking at the last three and a half years, we have no confidence that Sinhala leaders are capable of implementing anything they have agreed to.

Question: Can you comment on the state of CeaseFire agreement in the East?
Thamilchelvan: Several of our cadres and Tamils have been killed recently in the east. These incidents happened in areas completely controlled by the Sri Lanka security forces. Sinhala military is on a relentless campaign to provoke us into war. Harassment and threat to our cadres by the security forces have escalated. We are constrained by the Memorandum of Understanding in our ability to carry arms or to defend ourselves. We were forced to advise our political cadres in the east to move to safer areas within our control. We have observed a marked increase in the intensity of shadow war against us in the east.

Question: The ultimatum you gave the Government to provide transport security has expired. Where do you stand on this?
Thamilchelvan: We have explained the situation clearly to the facilitators. If GoSL is unable to provide the required security to our cadres we will have to resort to our own arrangements to provide security. If the Sri Lanka security forces then attempt to interfere, CeaseFire Agreement will face difficulties.

Question: When will you start providing your own arrangements? Two weeks have already elapsed?
Thamilchelvan: We will use our transport as and when it is necessary. These arrangements will occur as usual and we are not going to publicize these events. You will likely hear of consequences if and when Sri Lanka armed forces attempt to resrict our movements.

Question: On CFA and MoU in other areas?
Thamilchelvan: Liberation Tigers and its leadership do not like to break the CFA or create difficulties in the peace efforts. For the past three years we have been working genuinely through peaceful means to realize the aspirations of the Tamil people. Our patience has been tested several times when our senior leaders and cadres were killed during this period. Now the situation is extremely dangerous. The future course of events is entirely in the hands of the GoSL and the security forces. Although we detest war if the security forces thrust the war on us, we will be prepared to defend ourselves.

Question: Can we assume that peace efforts have reached an end?
Thamilchelvan: We are rapidly moving to such an eventuality.

Question: You have said that you are exercizing patience. How long will your patience last?
Thamilchelvan: When Sinhala forces create conditions that require our response we will react.

Question: In Vavuniya district the SLMM is arranging a meeting between the LTTE and the security forces. Is there a benefit in having such meetings in the current situation?
Thamilchelvan: In some districts where there is imminent danger to our unarmed political cadres we have asked them to move to safer areas. In other districts our political groups are continuing to function. If security climate in these dstrict deteriorate then we will then make a decision to suspend political activities.

Question: Is Norway making any efforts to improve the deteriorating situation?
Thamilchelvan: Norway is trying. But whether Norway's efforts will be successful remains a question mark.

Question: Tamil people appear to sense that war is imminent. Your thoughts?
Thamilchelvan: Their fear is not misplaced. I believe that Tamil people have a correct view of the current situation.


Related Articles:
16.07.05   Court ruling adds fuel to Sri Lanka chauvinism- Sampanthan
15.07.05   Sri Lanka's Supreme Court issues stay order against P-TOMS
14.07.05   Sri Lanka military pushing for war- Batticaloa LTTE
04.07.05   National Patriotic Movement protests against SLMM
02.06.05   Rights Group condemns Bindunuwewa acquittals

 

Latest 15 Reports
 
Find this article at:
http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=15414