"Lift ban on LTTE, postpone local elections" -TULF
[TamilNet, Sunday, 20 January 2002, 21:30 GMT]
The Tamil United National Front (TULF), main component of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Sunday appealed to the Government to lift the ban imposed on the Liberation Tigers in Sri Lanka before the commencement of peace talks and not to hold elections to local authorities in the northeast province. " At the last general election the Tamil people have overwhelmingly endorsed the lifting of the ban on the LTTE in Sri Lanka prior to the commencement of peace talks. Furthermore the TULF urges the Government to postpone the holding of the local poll in northeast as the conduct of the election in the current situation could have the effect of retarding negotiations between the Government and the LTTE", said a press release issued by the TULF Secretary General of the TULF Mr. R.Sampanthan Sunday.
The press release follows:
The Central Committee of the Tamil United Liberation Front, main constituent of the Tamil National Alliance met Sunday in Colombo with its President and National List Parliamentarian Mr.M.Sivasithambaram in the chair.
The following resolutions were adopted unanimously at the meeting:
"1) While welcoming the Government's favourable response to the ceasefire declared by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), and the other steps being taken by the Government to relax the embargo on food, medicine and other essentials, to the uncleared areas ( not controlled by State armed forces), particularly in the Vanni, and also to relax the grave inconvenience and harassment caused to the Tamil people by the restrictions and curbs imposed on occupation, residence, and travel; the TULF desires to point out, that the embargo on the supply of all essential items, to enable wholesome living, inclusive of fuel and cement, to all Tamil areas in the North-East, should be completely lifted, and that all such essential items, other than those which can be classified as Weapons of War and solely military accessories to prosecute War, should be freely available in other parts of the country. The TULF also desires to point out that the embargo on the supply of food, medicine and other essentials to the uncleared areas in many parts of the Eastern Province still continues to be fully or partly operational and the such embargo should be lifted without further delay. The TULF also wishes to point out that the Tamil people yet continue to subjected to much inconvenience and harassment, as a result of the continuance of the searches of persons and their possessions, while travelling within their own districts or while travelling to other districts, and that such searches should be terminated early, if the Tamil people are to be the beneficiaries of the cessation of the War currently in force.
"Fuel required for both domestic and occupational purposes, particularly farming, and fishing, and cement urgently required for reconstruction of houses, places of worship, educational institutions, and other civil institutions devastated by war, should be amply available, if normalcy is to be restored in the living conditions of the Tamil civilian population in the North-East. Places of worship, educational institutions, other buildings and common places meant for use by the Tamil civilian population, currently occupied by security personnel, should be vacated and handed over to the relevant civilian authorities for full and free use by the civilians population in such areas.
"Economic activity in the North-East, has been virtually non-existent during the continuance of the war, and the Tamil people have thereby suffered extreme economic deprivation. The North-East has also been continuously subjected to grave deprivation. The North-East has also been continuously subjected to grave deprivation in economic development for several decades.
"The cumulative economic deprivation suffered by the Tamil people in the North-East, can be relieved to some extent, only by the Tamil people not being restricted in any way, to continue their traditional vocations such as farming, fishing, animal husbandry, and live stock development, in the North-East. Tamil people should have the full and free right to pursue their vocation without any restriction on land or sea, and should have the right of free access to and the right to freely use, all requirements such as fuel, fertilizer and other items as may be necessary to pursue such vocations. Multi-purpose Co-operative Society branches which had been closed down in several uncleared areas in the North-East during the period of war should be immediately re-opened to enable the civilian population in such areas to have easy access to their requirements, and the difficulties presently experienced by Tamil civilians having to travel long distances to multi-purpose co-operative societies in cleared (controlled by State armed forces) to obtain such requirements should be brought to an end
"The TULF points out that the expeditious implementation of such steps, is imperative, if living conditions are to return to near state of normalcy in the north-east, and if the Tamil people are to be the actual beneficiaries of the changes now purported to be brought about in the North-East.
"2) The TULF also considered the need to lift the ban currently in force on the LTTE in Sri Lanka, prior to the commencement of negotiations between the Government and the LTTE. The Tamil National Alliance of which the TULF was a component, placed the issue of lifting the ban on the LTTE before the Tamil voters in the North-East at the last general elections. The Tamil people have overwhelmingly endorsed the lifting of the ban on the LTTE prior to the commencement of negotiations. The TULF strongly urges that the government, the main opposition party, and other majoritarian forces, should recognize and respect the verdict of the Tamil people. The TULF strongly urges that the ban imposed on the LTTE should not be an impediment, to the primacy that must be accorded to the achievement of a just and durable political solution through negotiations. It is necessary that the process of negotiations should be strengthened in every possible way, and that the legitimacy of the negotiations process should not be called in to question. The verdict of the Tamil people at the last general election is that it is the LTTE which should negotiate with the Sri Lanka government to find a just and durable solution to the Tamil National Question. It is therefore imperative that the ban imposed on the LTTE in Sri Lanka should be lifted prior to the commencement of negotiations.
"3. As the conduct of the elections to the Local Authorities in the North-East, in the current situation, when negotiations are likely to commence shortly between the Government and the LTTE could have the effect of retarding such negotiations; it was resolved to request the Government to take steps to avoid the holding of Local Authorities elections in the North-East at present."