Sri Lanka pushing island to "full scale war" - LTTE

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 12 September 2006, 09:33 GMT]
Continuing offensives by the Sri Lankan military will compel the Liberation Tigers to switch from defensive operations to launching their own offensives, the LTTE said Wednesday. In an exclusive interview with Reuters, the head of the LTTE’s Political Wing, Mr. S. P. Thamilchelvan said the Sri Lankan military’s offensives and continuing forcible occupation of Tamil areas had rendered the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) "meaningless" but "since the facilitators and the international community are eager to strengthen peace efforts, the LTTE is also continuing to examine options for strengthening the CFA."

The Liberation Tigers Peace Secretariat made available the full text of the Interview:

Reuters: What will the Tigers do if the army continues to mount offensive operations?

Mr. S. P. Thamilchelvan
Political Head of the LTTE S. P. Thamilchelvan
Thamilchelvan: If the Sri Lankan armed forces continue with their military offensive attacks, violating the CFA in the most serious manner possible, then, unfortunately, LTTE too will be forced, from their current position of having to take defensive military operations, into the situation of having to launch offensive operations. I am afraid there is a possibility that this will turn into a full scale war.

Reuters: Is the CFA now completely dead? Do the Tigers now consider it to be void?

Thamilchelvan: Within the context of the military offensives by the Sri Lankan armed forces and their continuing forced occupations of the Tamil homeland, we do consider that the CFA has become meaningless. However, since the facilitators and the international community are eager to strengthen the peace efforts, the LTTE is also continuing to examine options for strengthening the CFA. In this regard the LTTE continues maintain its communications with the facilitators.

Reuters: Are the Tigers prepared to resume talks with the government and the mediators?

Thamilchelvan: The LTTE is ready for talks. However, the opportunities for resuming the talks will be much stronger when the Sri Lankan government ceases its military attacks and all the CFA articles are fully respected and implemented.

Reuters: What will it take to stop this new chapter of the Sri Lankan war?

Thamilchelvan: The present CFA had greatly contributed to bringing peace in this island that had been torn by two decades of civil war. This CFA helped to avoid large scale war for four and half years and maintain semblance of normalcy. It is only by implementing 100%, this CFA that came into being with the support of the international community and the efforts of the facilitators that this situation can be halted.

Reuters: Do the Tigers think peace talks with this administration are destined to failure given President Rakapakse’s refusal to consider a separate Tamil homeland?

Thamilchelvan: Beyond considerations of what is and what is not useful, everyone must understand what is realistic and come to a common position accordingly. At some point in time in the future, everyone has to arrive at such a realistic and practical position. I believe it will be meaningful if we all continue to search for opportunities to arrive at that realistic position. Mahinda Rajapakse also most certainly needs to change his position. No one can deny the rights of the Tamil people. At some stage everyone must accept this. Therefore Mahinda Rakapakse too must take up a decent position in this regard.

Reuters: What will the Tigers do if the government does not vacate Sampoor?

Thamilchelvan: Since the Sri Lankan government, in violation of the CFA, has occupied new areas that were administered by the LTTE under the CFA, we believe we must take all necessary actions to recover these areas according to the CFA.

Reuters: If attacks by the army on the Tigers continue, will the Tigers bring war to Colombo?

Thamilchelvan: If the Sri Lankan armed forces continue with their cruel war all over the Tamil homeland, and continue to put the people in the Tamil homeland in great misery, I do believe that the spread of this war to all parts of the island will be unavoidable.


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