LTTE-TNA conference concludes: "Tamil people have no interest in SL Presidential elections"

[TamilNet, Thursday, 10 November 2005, 11:56 GMT]
Emerging from the three and a half hour meeting with the Political Wing of the LTTE, Wednesday, R.Sampanthan, Leader of the TNA Parliamentarians, categorically declared to the media, "Nothing worthwhile would be achieved by supporting either of the two leading candidates in the Sri Lankan Presidential election." Mr Sampanthan, following discussions presided by S.P.Thamilchelvan, leader of the Political Wing of the LTTE, assured the press in Kilinochchi, that Tamil People are "not at all interested in the forthcoming Presidential election."

TNA LTTE meet in Kilinochchi
"Both Sinhala parties have been in the government before and after periods of war in the NorthEast. If we carefully examine the conduct of these Governments towards Tamil people we are forced to conclude that we cannot place our trust on either of the parties or their candidates," Mr. Sampanthan revealed.

"We are convinced that Tamil people will not benefit by showing any interest in the forthcoming Sri Lanka Presidential elections," added the parliamentary group leader of Tamil National Alliance (TNA), talking to the press after the meeting with the LTTE's Political Head at the LTTE Peace Secretariat in Kilinochchi.

LTTE, TNA meet
"The past bitter experiences of the ordinary Tamil people are such that they will never forget their sufferings, especially under military subjugation, both during their non violent struggle as well as during armed confrontation." said Mr Sampanthan.

"It is not surprising that the Tamil people have lost all interest in the forthcoming Sri Lankan presidential elections. The experience the Tamils have had over five decades, has taught them neither to trust the leading Sinhala political parties nor to have faith in their leadership, the leader of the TNA said.

TNA LTTE meet in Kilinochchi

The meeting with twenty one TNA MPs and senior officials of the LTTE took place at 11.00 a.m. and lasted more than three hours. Mr. Thamilchelvan was joined by Deputy Head of LTTE Political Wing, S Thangan, Director of LTTE Peace Secretariat, Puleedevan, Head of Jaffna district LTTE Political Wing, Ilamparithi, Head of Vavuniya district LTTE Political Wing, Gnanam and Head of Mannar district LTTE Political Wing, Iniyavan.

All TNA MPs, except Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, who is on a US visit, attended the discussions.

"Neither the TNA nor the LTTE will advise people not to vote. We will not be in their way, blocking them from exercising their democratic right. But all signs are, the decision not to show interest in the Presidential election is gathering momentum among the Tamils. That is what we could gather from our political experience and interaction with the people," the veteran politician from Trincomalee observed.

"Tamil residents in NorthEast are fully aware of the conduct of the two major Sinhala parties. They have been through and suffered through periods under these parties' governance. We know and understand Tamil peoples' frame of mind. We have no doubt that they are in full agreement with our thinking," Sampanthan told the press.

"We discussed in depth and exchanged our views on the situation related to the elections and what historical significance our participation in the elections is going to be for the future of our people.

"We talked about the conduct of the Sri Lanka Governments from the time of independence and how they attempted to resolve the Tamil National question. We discussed how our people were oppressed under armed threat and how genocide was perpetrated on our people. We looked at how the Sinhala governments approached the peace process and examined their actions especially during the last three years of peace.

"There was no doubt in any of the participants' mind that the Presidential election will not produce any positive shift in the Southern Polity's thinking and approach that will in anyway result in any progressive advance towards resolving the Tamil question.

"That is why we decided that it is a futile exercise to show any interest in the elecions," Sampanthan told the press.


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