Tigers urge de-proscription and ceasefire for talks
[TamilNet, Saturday, 07 April 2001, 10:20 GMT]
Mr. S.P.Tamil Chelvan, the Head of the Political Wing of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), has called upon the government of Sri Lanka to lift the ban on his organisation and reciprocate positively to the LTTE's unilateral cease-fire as essential pre-requisites for the commencement of political negotiations. This message was conveyed through the Norwegian Ambassador in Colombo Mr. Jon Westborg when he had lengthy discussions with the political leaders of the LTTE in Mallavi, Vanni, northern Sri Lanka yesterday and today morning, the organisation said in a press release Saturday.
Following is full text of the press release:
"Mr. S.P.Tamil Chelvan, the Head of the Political Wing of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), has called upon the government of Sri Lanka to lift the ban on his organisation and reciprocate positively to the LTTE's unilateral cease-fire as essential pre-requisites for the commencement of political negotiations. This message was conveyed through the Norwegian Ambassador in Colombo Mr. Jon Westborg when he had lengthy discussions with the political leaders of the LTTE in Mallavi, Vanni, northern Sri Lanka yesterday and today morning.
"Mr. Jon Westborg and an official of the Norwegian Embassy, Mr. Tomas Strangland, arrived in Mallavi, Vanni yesterday afternoon and engaged in a marathon discussion for six hours last night with the LTTE's political wing leaders. The discussions continued for more than two hours in the morning today before the Norwegians left for Colombo. Along with Mr. Tamil Chelvan, Mr. Thangan, Mr. Pulidevan and Mr. George were present during the discussions.
"Presenting the LTTE's position on peace talks Mr. Tamil Chelvan insisted that a climate of peace and goodwill conducive for talks should be created before the commencement of political negotiations. The LTTE has always emphasised the necessity and urgency of the cessation of armed hostilities by the parties in conflict before talks, Mr. Tamil Chelvan told the Norwegian diplomat. "We have argued that it would be difficult to hold talks while engaging in a bloody war. Irrespective of the belligerent stand taken by the Sri Lankan government, the LTTE had unilaterally declared cease-fire and has been extending the truce for the last few months. This measure clearly demonstrates our sincere determination to seek peace and a negotiated settlement. So far Sri Lanka has not positively responded to our goodwill gesture. But it is absolutely essential that both the parties cease all armed hostilities and maintain peace as an essential condition for the resumption of peace talks", Mr. Tamil Chelvan said.
"Mr. Tamil Chelvan also impressed upon the Norwegian delegation of the necessity of lifting the ban on the LTTE by the Sri Lanka government to create a goodwill atmosphere for peace talks. "We are glad to note that the Sri Lanka government has finally realised the importance of talking to the Tamil Tigers to resolve the ethnic conflict. This realisation entails a recognition that the LTTE is the preponderant representative organisation of our people. Therefore, the time has come for the Kumaratunga government to lift the ban on the LTTE and embrace us at the peace table as the authentic representatives of the Tamil people. We will not under any circumstances participate at the peace negotiations as an out-lawed outfit", the LTTE's political wing leader told the Norwegian Ambassador.
"The major portion of the discussion time was devoted to the 'Memorandum of Understanding', the proposals submitted by the Norwegian Government to de-escalate the conflict and pave the way for talks. Having expressed their dissatisfaction over the alterations by Sri Lanka of the title of the document into an "Agreement on Humanitarian Measures' the LTTE delegation insisted that the original version of the title as 'Memorandum of Understanding' should be retained. The LTTE delegates also expressed their displeasure over the distorted comments made by Mr. Kadirgamar on this crucial document, the implementation of which is vital for the normalisation of civilian life in the north-east and peace and stability in the South.
"Mr.Tamil Chelvan explained in more depth and detail the requirements of fuel and cement in the Vanni region for agriculture, industry and for the reconstruction of the infra-structure totally destroyed by the savagery of the war. Expressing his dismay over the Sri Lanka government's determination to restrict the flow of these essential items vital for the economic life of the Tamil people, Mr. Tamil Chelvan urged the Norwegian envoy to persuade Sri Lanka to allow the fuel and cement to satisfy the requirements of the war affected civilian masses. Mr. Westborg assured the LTTE's Political Wing representatives that he will discuss the issues raised by them with the Sri Lanka and Norway governments."