No agreement in Geneva on Humanitarian crisis, Tigers respond on pluralism and democracy
[TamilNet, Sunday, 29 October 2006, 16:57 GMT]
The talks in Geneva ended Sunday without any agreement between the Parties, the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam on the Humanitarian crisis and the re-opening of closed gateways. Responding on Democracy the Tigers said they were "more committed to the democratic principles" than the GoSL and challenged the GoSL to repeal the sixth amendment to the SL constitution as a token of its commitment to democracy and pluralism. The LTTE also challenged the GoSL to remove its armed forces from the Tamil homeland and allow the holding of a referendum under international supervision to ascertain the aspirations of the people in the homeland.
Welcoming the MoU signed by the two major political parties in the South, the LTTE also stated that the Tigers agreed to fix a date for next round of talks and asked the A-9 high way is opened before that date. The closure of A-9 constitutes a new "Berlin Wall," the LTTE said.
The sixth amendment to the Sri Lankan constitution prohibits peaceful advocacy for a separate state through democratic means.
Full text of the LTTE press statement follows:
October 29, 2006
GenevaGeneva talks October 28-29, 2006
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) met in Geneva on 28-29 October 2006 for talks under the auspices of the Royal Norwegian Government. The talks were hosted by the Government of Switzerland.
The Co-chairs in August 2006 called the parties to cease hostilities immediately, to support and guarantee the security of the SLMM personnel and to take the peace process forward.
The LTTE in its opening statement addressed the urgent humanitarian crisis caused by the GoSL and its security forces. The LTTE maintained that one hundred percent implementation of the CFA and strengthening the role of SLMM will bring normalcy to the lives of the people in the homeland and help in taking forward the peace process to a satisfactory conclusion.
S. P. Thamilchelvan addressing the press in Geneva
During the talks the LTTE pointed out the suffering of the people including access through highways and roads in all parts of the homeland. The LTTE stated that the closure of the A-9 highway has resulted in open prison for more than six hundred thousand people in the Jaffna peninsula under the occupation of sixty thousand Sri Lankan military personnel. The LTTE also pointed out the closure of A-9 constitutes a new “Berlin Wall”. The closure of A-9 high way is a violation of the CFA and the right to free movement resulting in separation of family members and causing untold human misery. The LTTE further stated that providing food alone through sea routes is akin to feeding prisoners. No satisfactory explanation was given by the GoSL for the refusal to reopen the A-9. The LTTE stated that GoSL must be having a hidden military agenda. GoSL pointed out that the A-9 was closed earlier from 1994 to 2002. The LTTE responded that it was during the war and questioned the GoSL whether it wanted to push the people back into a war environment and a humanitarian catastrophe and to negotiate with the Tamils as a subject people.
The LTTE insisted on the implementation of the CFA and Geneva-I and strengthening of the role of SLMM. However the GoSL paid scant attention to the above. The LTTE expressed its disappointment and asked the GoSL to identify a document other than the CFA which has brought an end to the two decades of war and laid the foundation for the peace process.
The LTTE welcomed the MoU signed by the two major Sinhala political parties. The LTTE also stated that once the Sinhala polity reaches a consensus with respect to the resolution to the conflict, the LTTE will enter into political negotiations with the GoSL. The LTTE expects that by this time normalcy returns and a conducive environment created.
The GoSL raised the issues of democracy and pluralism in the homeland. The LTTE stated that it is more committed to the democratic principles than the GoSL and cited the ISGA as an example. The LTTE challenged the GoSL to repeal the sixth amendment as a token of its commitment to democracy and pluralism. The sixth amendment to the Sri Lankan constitution prohibits peaceful advocacy for a separate state through democratic means. The LTTE also challenged the GoSL to remove its armed forces from the homeland and allow the holding of a referendum under international supervision to ascertain the aspirations of the people in the homeland.
The LTTE agreed to fix a date for next round of talks and asked the A-9 high way is opened before that date. However, the GoSL did not respond positively. The LTTE has requested the facilitators and the SLMM to use their good offices to have A-9 opened before fixing a date for the next round of talks.
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