Balance of power, imperative to work towards sustainable solution - Thamilchelvan

[TamilNet, Sunday, 20 May 2007, 09:48 GMT]
Head of the Political Division of the Liberation Tigers, S.P.Thamilchelvan, in an interview with TamilNet on Saturday said that the decision by the International players to ban the Tigers in various countries and the actions which restricted the political work of the Tigers, were being interpreted by Colombo as endorsing its military approach. The southern polity was working on unacceptable solutions, that were rejected by the Tamils 30 years ago, he said, alluding that it was the Sinhala leadership which needed to change first. "It is fallacy to think that by weakening the LTTE, the movement can be forced to compromise on its political stand," the LTTE's Political Head said.

S.P.Thamilchelvan
"The Sinhala leadership ought to develop a profound understanding of the aspirations and the demands of the Tamil people," Mr. Thamilchelvan said and questioned whether a conducive environment for a such change is promoted when international players have created the view that they were supporting Colombo’s war.

"The international community through the involvement in the peace process during the last five years clearly knows that the Sri Lankan Government has never been ready to provide a reasonable solution to the Tamil people."

Balance of power and parity of status between the Parties, the Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam (LTTE) and the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) are the keys for successful negotiations to find a sustainable solution to the conflict.

"It is fallacy to think that by weakening the LTTE, the movement can be be forced to compromise on its political stand," Thamilchelvan told TamilNet.

"I think the international community, by realizing this and by recognizing the Tamil people's struggle for their rights and by coming forward to support that struggle, can create a situation conducive for negotiations."

Full text of the interview follows:

TamilNet: Talks in the past were held in an environment of military balance of power between the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka. However, the South’s current military aggression appears to be exploiting the West’s assumption that only a weakened-LTTE will be prepared to compromise on its political stand. Can you comment?

Thamilchelvan: This is total fallacy. Since the time of independence in 1948, Tamil people took part in many negotiations to reach at agreements with the Sri Lankan Government. The armed struggle was born as a result of successive Sri Lankan Governments abrogating several such agreements, and continued ethnically motivated killing. Armed struggle born as self defense shattered the confidence of the Sinhala leaders that Tamils cannot be beaten militarily, and brought them to the talks. Therefore, only when Tamils are strong, there is a chance that the Sinhala leadership will come forward for a negotiated solution. The latest peace talks too occurred under such circumstances.

This latest tactic by the Government of Sri Lanka is also to persuade the international community to help subdue the Tamil people and commit ethnic genocide against them. LTTE and the Tamil people under no circumstances will come to the table in a position of political and military weakness.

TamilNet: South has rejected one key principle of Thimpu talks, the concept of Tamil homeland. The world powers also seem to experiment if the Government of Sri Lanka is capable of creating conditions for peace talks under such environment. What is your view of this approach?

Thamilchelvan: Sinhala leadership ought to develop a profound understanding of the aspirations and the demands of the Tamil people. Tamil people have put forward their rights for the last several decades. They took up the armed struggle for a separate state only when their demands were consistently rejected. This is the reality. Therefore, it is only when the Sinhala leadership respects the Tamil people's rights and proposes a just solution, there is a chance for moving towards an agreement. But, the ruling Sinhala elite continues to put forward unacceptable solutions that aim to exercise power over the Tamil people and maintain subservience. These acts are frustrating the Tamil people and are destroying their confidence in a negotiated solution. The latest proposal, which is the same as the one rejected and defeated by the Tamil people thirty years ago, makes it abundantly clear that the Sinhala leadership still balking at proposing a just solution. Through these actions Sinhala leadership is destroying any remnants of hopes the Tamil people have in a peaceful solution.

TamilNet: Colombo is attempting to impress upon the international community that its war is a "war on terrorism" to justify its military "needs". International community "appears" to be supporting this. This approach can also be viewed as an attempt to apply pressure on the LTTE. What do you like to tell those who think this approach will succeed in bringing about a solution?

Thamilchelvan: While the International community relies on the Sinhala leadership to take forward the peace process, Sinhala leaders have repeatedly failed to make use of the many opportunities to resolve the ethnic conflict, and has instead adopted tactics to carry out genocide against the Tamils. Sri Lankan Government is attempting to exploit the changed environment in the international scene and tarnish the Tamil people's struggle as a phenomenon of international terrorism to undermine the struggle’s moral validity. It is distressing to the Tamil people that the international community is indirectly giving support to the Sri Lankan Government that is committing ethnic genocide. International community through the involvement in the peace process during the last five years clearly knows that the Sri Lankan Government has never been ready to provide a reasonable solution to the Tamil people. Sri Lankan Government has through many attempts destroyed the foundations of the peace talks and eliminated all efforts towards peace. This good foundation for peace was laid after a long time with the facilitation of the Norwegian Government. It resulted in the signing of a ceasefire agreement. The Sri Lankan Government has destroyed this ceasefire agreement and poisoned the climate of peace. While this remains the reality, it is futile for the international community to apply pressure on the Tamils. This has encouraged the Sinhala Government to intensify its ethnic genocide. The recent banning of the LTTE in Canada and the European Union has only encouraged the Sri Lankan Government to pursue a military solution. The expectations of the Tamil people are that the international community will pressure the Sri Lankan Government to pursue peace, and will act to bring justice to the Tamil people.

TamilNet: What should the Sri Lankan Government do to convince you of its bona fides in pursuing peace?

Thamilchelvan: If there is to be a solution to the ethnic conflict then the genocidal war on the Tamil people by the Sri Lankan Government must first end. Extrajudicial killing and disappearances of the Tamil people by the Sri Lankan Government forces must come to an end. The restrictions on travel by Tamils and economic blockade must be removed. The human misery caused by the militarization must end.

The war must be halted and a peaceful environment must be created. In my view, the full and comprehensive implementation of the ceasefire agreement (CFA) reached by both sides with the assistance of the international community is the most suitable path to achieve this.

TamilNet: Do you think the International powers, by not applying pressure to abandon Sri Lanka Government’s war efforts, are indirectly supporting the war?

Thamilchelvan: Definitely. Some of the decisions taken by the international community, trusting that the Sri Lankan Government will act in a certain way have indeed encouraged the Sri Lankan Government to act in exact opposition to what was expected. These decisions have resulted in Colombo intensifying the war. The decisions to ban in various countries, and some of the actions to restrict the political work of the LTTE, are interpreted by the Sri Lankan Government as endorsing its military approach. The international community has created the view that it is supporting Colombo’s war. I think the international community, by realizing this and by recognizing the Tamil people's struggle for their rights and by coming forward to support that struggle, can create a situation conducive for negotiations.

TamilNet: Will gentle pressures and democratic methods useful, when past successive governments have only tried to search for a solution within its constitution?

Thamilchelvan: The truth is that successive Sri Lankan Governments have conducted in various ways a genocidal war on the Tamil people. It implemented many oppressive laws and laws to deny their basic rights. It is these actions that lead the Tamil people to lose confidence and forced them to conclude that they can no longer live with the Sinhala nation. As long as the members of the majority Sinhala community hold views that are ethnically biased they will continue to vote against Tamil demands. They are continuing to adopt a stance that is also oppressive to the Muslim people. Therefore, only a solution that respects all the nations and ethnicities will make peace possible. Further, no acceptable solution can be found under the parameters of the current constitution. In recent times, in many countries, many ethnicities have been respected for their uniqueness and their rights; solutions have been put forward resulting in peaceful solutions to ethnic conflicts. The genocidal war of the Sri Lankan Government that has failed to recognize these developments cannot be the path to find a solution. In my view a solution can be found with the efforts of the international community only if it accepts the balance of power of the two sides.

TamilNet: When will the violence end?

Thamilchelvan: When the ideals of peace, self-respect, rights, and freedom respected in the civilized world as essentials for the betterment of the human race are accepted. When, on this basis a just and honorable solution is reached for the Tamil people who have been subjected to oppression and Tamils gain the confidence that they too can live in freedom and with self respect. That day will mark the emergence of two peaceful, individually strong and economically powerful nations in this island.

International community must understand this reality and take constructive steps to bring the Sri Lankan Government back to the path of peace.

 

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