PA - JVP pact is a serious blow to peace - LTTE
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 11 September 2001, 06:50 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers said Monday that the formation of a probationary government with an alliance between the People's Alliance (PA) regime and the Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) effected a serious blow to the peace process in Sri Lanka. Commenting on the current political developments in Colombo, Mr. Anton Balasingham, the LTTE's chief negotiator and political advisor told the Tamil Guardian newspaper that one of the clauses of the 'Memorandum of Understanding' reached between the PA and the JVP strictly forbids any discussions on proposals relating to the solution to the Tamil national question.
Mr. Balasingham's comments were published in the Tamil expatriate weekly's latest edition, distributed Tuesday. Asked about the recent statements made by President Chandrika Kumaratunga and the Foreign Minister, Mr. Lakshman Kadirgamar claiming that the PA-JVP agreement would not affect the peace talks with the LTTE, Mr. Balasingham dismissed such claims as 'utter nonsense'.
"Clause 20 of the MOU clearly states that proposals for devolution of power and any other proposals in relations to a political solution to the Tamil national question should not be taken up for discussion during the probationary period of one year. Is there any meaning and purpose in entering into a peace process if we cannot discuss any proposals for a negotiated settlement?" Mr. Balasingham asked.
"The truth is that the PA-JVP agreement has made the peace talks an impossible task. The utterances made by the President and by the Foreign Minister Mr. Kadirgamar are simply propaganda stuff intended for the consumption of the international governments who are disillusioned with the unholy matrimony between a corrupt, weak government and the orthodox Marxist diehards who are opposed to peace and international facilitation", he said.
"Neither the PA nor the JVP have a coherent vision with regard to a permanent solution to the ethnic conflict and the civil war that has torn the country apart. Operating with mutually contradictory ideologies the new partners of this probationary administration have articulated conflicting views on the Tamil question. While PA professes vague notions of 'devolution' the JVP entertains a utopian ideal of 'equality for all'. But neither of them is prepared to discuss the core demands of the Tamil people that underlie the Tamil national question," Mr. Balasingham told the Tamil Guardian.
"We have repeatedly stated that it is the Tamil people who have to ultimately decide their own political status and destiny, not the Sinhala political parties who assume power in Colombo. If there is no Sinhala consensus on the core demands of the Tamils as enunciated at Thimpu talks the Tamil people will be left with no choice other than to seek their own path to liberation", Mr. Balasingham explained.
On the question of invoking the Norwegian peace initiative Mr. Balasingham blamed President Kumaratunga and Mr. Kadirgamar for marginalising and downgrading the Norwegian chief negotiator Mr. Solheim thereby causing a deadlock in the Norwegian effort. "Sri Lanka has killed the Norwegian peace effort simply because of a pathological suspicion that the peace envoy was partial and favorably disposed towards the LTTE. It was a grave diplomatic blunder. Such unilateral interventions by one party in tripartite relations are totally unacceptable to us. Norwegian facilitatory process can only be resurrected by re-instating Mr. Solheim as the chief negotiator", the LTTE's political advisor commented.
Mr. Balasingham further said that the Kumaratunga government is eager to initiate the peace talks as a desperate effort to overcome the current politico-economic crisis but not with the sincere intention of resolving the ethnic conflict through negotiated political settlement. "In its desperation the government seems to be contemplating declaring a unilateral cease-fire. Such measures will not be viewed as an act of good faith but rather as a ruse to implicate the LTTE with the ultimate motive of demonising it as the villain of peace."
"If the government is sincere and serious about engaging the LTTE in a process of negotiations, it should take measures to annul Clause 20 of the PA-JVP agreement and create conditions of normalcy in the Tamil homeland for a specific period by totally lifting the economic embargo. As we have already stated, the government should also recognise the LTTE as the authentic representatives of the people of Tamil Eelam by de-proscribing our liberation movement", Mr. Balasingham said.