Stable cease-fire between armies of GOSL, LTTE must for peace- Balasingham
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 18 September 2002, 09:18 GMT]
Addressing a press conference at the Sattahip naval
base in Thailand Wednesday after the conclusion of the
three-day peace talks between the government of Sri
Lanka (GOSL) and the Liberation Tigers, the head of
the LTTE’s team, Mr. Anton Balasingham said that a
stable cease-fire between the standing armies and naval
forces of the LTTE and the GOSL is important for
laying a firm foundation for peace. “The LTTE is very
happy with the proceedings and we have taken a few
decisions,” he said.
Prof. G. L Peiris, head of the GOSL team, said that
both parties are agreed on making a common appeal for
foreign funds to rebuild and rehabilitate the
“There will be meetings with donors and there will be
a pledging conference in the next few months”, Prof.
Mr. Eric Soleheim, of the delegation of the Norwegian
government, was the moderator of the press conference.
Mr.Anton Balasingham, the head of the LTTE delegation speaking to journalists after the press briefing at Ambasssdor City Jonmtien Hotel, 18 September 2002.
Answering a question by the Hindustan Times about the
role of the few Tamil groups which are not with the
LTTE, Mr. Anton Balasingham said that those minor
groups too can take part in any electoral process
under the proposed interim administration in the
Northeast. “The Muslims will play an important role
because the Tamil homeland is also their territory,”
Answering another question he said: “We were in touch
with our leader regarding every aspect of the
proceedings here. He is very happy with the process.”
In response to questions about the LTTE’s commitment
to the peace process Mr. Balasingham said:
“I do not agree with the critics when they blame the
LTTE was not concerned or interested in the peace
process. The LTTE has been participating in the peace
process on several occasions from 1985 at Thimpu until
the present time. On several occasions we have
expressed our willingness to negotiate with the
government of Sri Lanka.”
“We are now confident that the present peace process
is going to advance and succeed because of the main
reason that this is the first time a third party is
involved and is guiding the peace process between the
parties in conflict. Secondly a stable foundation for
peace is established. The cease-fire is holding for the
last seven months. A stable ceasefire is very crucial
for the concerted effort to lay a stable foundation.
The third factor is that there is an international
monitoring mission comprising Nordic and Scandinavian
countries supervising the ceasefire.”
“The international community for the first time is
focusing on the dialogue of peace process between the
government and the LTTE. Fifthly we have a team. I
appreciate that this time the Sri Lankan government
has produced a team with men of calibre and
understanding; and we can relate to them and we can
discuss with them. We have discussed many complicated
issues from core issues, substantive issues and
peripheral issues. We were able to proceed positively.
I am very much confident that the present peace
process will succeed”.
Answering a question whether the disarming the LTTE
Mr.Balasingham said: “ There is no question of
disarmament at this early stage of the discussion.
You know very well both parties- the government of Sri
Lanka and the LTTE have two standing armies, two
navies and this is the first time a stable cease-fire
has been established. Your question of disarming and
decommissioning the LTTE will not arise until we reach
a permanent settlement that will satisfy the
aspirations of Tamil people.”
Answering a question about possible ulterior motives on the part of India regarding the peace process, Mr.Soleheim and Prof. G. L Peiris asserted that New Delhiis solidly behind the talks and is keen to demilitarise the problem in Sri Lanka.