Pro-LTTE tone in TELO campaign
[TamilNet, Friday, 26 December 1997, 23:59 GMT]
The Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO) which is contesting all the local government bodies in Jaffna held a press conference today.
TELO invited correspondents of Sri Lankan state run 'Thinakaran' (Tamil daily), the Thinakkural (independent Tamil daily), the 'Uthayan' (the only Tamil daily published in Jaffna), the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation and the TamilNet for press conference this morning at 10.30 a.m. at their newly opened office on hospital road in Jaffna town.
The conference was followed by a Chinese meal- a rarity in Jaffna these days- in the Chinese hotel at the Bastian junction on Kandy road in Jaffna town.
TELO leaders Sivajilingam and Mahendiran addressed the correspondents who were gathered for the conference.
The TELO said little about the local polls. The exercise was apparently aimed at presenting a pro-LTTE image of the TELO.
Most Tamil groups contesting the Jaffna local polls are making statements which are quite in favour of the Liberation Tigers to woo voters in the peninsula, say sources close to them.
The following are excerpts from the long explanations proffered to the press this afternoon by the TELO leaders.
"The ethnic problem cannot be resolved without talking to the Liberation Tigers. It is impossible to weaken the Tigers through a military solution or to destroy them completely. Those who say this can be done, are only day dreaming. The suffering of the people cannot be brought to an end without stopping the war. Hence the problem cannot be solved without talking to the LTTE. The government is carrying on with the Jayasikurui operation while asking the Liberation Tigers to declare a cease fire. If the government were to announce a cease fire, the LTTE will respond in 24 or 48 hours. If they do not do so then we will not fault the government. But the government should declare a cease fire before it opens the road to Jaffna. Anyone who thinks that a weakened LTTE will come for talks should be in the lunatics' asylum. The government cannot expect the LTTE to put down its arms before negotiations. Third party mediation is necessary as both government and the Tigers do not trust each other. But it is for both to decide on a third party."
The TELO leaders wound up the long session saying that they plan to treat the local government elections in Jaffna as an opinion poll on these issues.