'PTA will not be repealed' -Prime Minister

[TamilNet, Sunday, 24 February 2002, 12:00 GMT]
"We cannot be too rigid in regard to the talks. We have to first bring the LTTE to the negotiating table. We should not put too many prohibitions, too many restrictions, and too many conditions that would prevent them from coming to the negotiating table.

"I have no idea of repealing the PTA", Mr. Wickremasinghe said, responding to a question. Tamils say that the draconian act has to be repealed if they are to live as equal citizens in Sri Lanka.

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Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe listens to a question during a press conference in Colombo, Sunday.(Photo:AP)
"The PTA does not define terrorism. Hence any Tamil whose views are not in agreement with those of the Sri Lankan state can be accused and charged of terrorism under this act. Almost all the Tamils in the north and east have directly or indirectly suffered due to the consequences of this act. The PTA is the legal context that made it possible to the Sri Lankan security forces to massacre thousands of innocent Tamils with impunity from Udumpankulam to the Bindunuwewa rehabilitation camp", said Mr. T. Thangavadivel, the Tamil National Alliance MP for Batticaloa, reacting to the Prime Minister's statement, telecast live on the state run TV station Sunday.

To a question when the government is going take final a Once they come to the table we must discuss what they want," said the Prime Minister Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe addressing a press conference Sunday morning to explain the Memorandum of Understanding between the government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. However, he iterated that his government won't repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).

decision about lifting the ban on LTTE in Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe said, "all these will be taken up when talks about talks."

Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe continued, "As far as we are concerned I think the main political parties have to a large extent agreed on the type of devolution was thinking of. But that is not the type of devolution the LTTE is thinking of. Where do you find the meeting of minds? Is it that possible? We have our main demands. The country cannot be separated. The territorial integrity must be safeguarded. There cannot be any constitutional arrangements that would lead to the separation of the country. There cannot be different armed groups operating. We want one Sri Lanka. We want all to be Sri Lankan citizens. This concept should be first accepted. Thereafter we must work for best solution."

"We will accelerate the resettlement of refugees and internally displaced in the northeast province, said Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe. He confirmed that under the provisions of the MoU, the EPDP and other Tamil paramilitary groups operating in the north and east would be absorbed into the Sri Lankan army.


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