LTTE calls for negotiations on interim administration

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 04 June 2003, 05:59 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said Wednesday it was prepared to resume negotiations with the Sri Lankan government on the establishment of an Interim Administrative structure empowered to undertake the tasks of rebuilding the war damaged economy and restoring normalcy in the Tamil speaking homeland.

Reiterating its call for an “an innovative new structure with specified politico-administrative functions, vested with adequate authority and legal status and with wider participation of the LTTE,” the movement expressed its disappointment over the government’s rejection of its proposals for such a body.

Responding to a letter sent Monday by the Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe, rejecting the Tamil Tigers’ proposals for an interim administrative instead offering a weaker development council, the LTTE’s Chief Negotiator and Political Advisor, Mr. Anton Balasingham said the movement was “disappointed to note that you have not given a clear and precise response to our proposal but rather indicated, negatively that you could not act against the rules and laws of the land.”

Alleviating the ongoing difficulties of the people of the Northeast was the “central issue” the LTTE said. “The negotiating process has moved in the direction of exploring theoretical models and road-maps towards a permanent solution ignoring the harsh existential ground realities of a suffering population who yearn to experience a sense of peace, normalcy and decent life.”

The full text of Mr. Balasingham’s letter to Mr. Wickremesinghe follows:

Dear Prime Minister,

Thank you for your letter dated 1 June 2003.

Having given careful study to the contents of your communication, the leadership of the LTTE is of the opinion that you have failed to address the central issue raised by us. Instead, you have attempted to provide clarifications to some elements of your proposal for a development structure and called for a comprehensive and substantial dialogue with the LTTE for further clarifications.

At the outset, we wish to point out that we seriously differ in perception in connection with what the LTTE leadership proposes and what your government offers. While our leadership has proposed an Interim Administrative framework, a politico-administrative structure for the Northeast with wider participation of the LTTE, your government has offered a council with a structure and mechanism for the development of the region. While the LTTE is seeking an Interim Administrative framework as pledged by you in the elections and for which you received a mandate from the people, your government is proposing a development structure with limited scope and power in which the role of the LTTE is not yet clearly defined and subjected to further discussion and clarification.

As we have indicated to you in our previous communications, we have raised the issue of an Interim Administrative structure at the initial rounds of peace negotiations, which started in mid September 2002 in Thailand. To avoid possible constitutional obstacles new structures and mechanisms have been formed to replace our proposal. Subsequently, over time our original proposal for an Interim Administrative structure metamorphosed into different forms with different functions and powers. It took the form of a Joint Task Force and later transformed into a Sub-Committee for Immediate Humanitarian and Rehabilitation Needs (SIRHN) and finally became a Northeast Development and Reconstruction Council (DRC). Now it has taken shape into a new Apex Council for Development. This is not the end of this strange evolutionary history of your government’s committees and structures. You are now suggesting a new comprehensive and substantial dialogue to clarify and expand the new structure and to specify and situate the role of the LTTE in the envisaged model. We could only speculate as to how many rounds of negotiations the parties have to undergo to arrive at a final formulation of this new bureaucratic institution. Finally, as you have suggested, the new structure would require the endorsement of the international community ‘in order to mobilise adequate resources for the reconstruction of the Northeast.’ This endorsement may not be forthcoming since some of the powerful international and regional players are prejudiced against us and continue to deny our hard-earned status as the true representatives of our people.

You can certainly understand the frustrations of our people and of the leadership of our liberation organisation. After lengthy sessions of deliberations in foreign capitals and in Killinochchi over the last ten months, your government has yet to formalise and finalise the single and the only structure proposed for reconstruction, development and other urgent humanitarian activities involving resettlement and rehabilitation of hundreds of thousands of displaced people and refugees. We do understand the compulsions that drive you to make a determined attempt to convince us that the new structure proposed by your government is innovative and could accomplish the Herculean humanitarian tasks with speed and efficiency. However, we are not convinced by your assurances and the positive posturing of your new proposals given the nature and history of Sri Lanka’s corrupt and inefficient bureaucracies and the system of bad governance. We have had a bitter and frustrating experience of the lack of performance of the mechanisms already instituted. We are not convinced that by creating a new apex bureaucracy within the existing systems will provide a realistic, practical solution to the formidable humanitarian problems faced by our people.

Having realised that the Tamil people are loosing confidence and patience in the peace process in resolving urgent humanitarian issues, our leadership was forced to reappraise the entire situation. We felt that the negotiating process has moved in the direction of exploring theoretical models and road-maps towards a permanent solution ignoring the harsh existential ground realities of a suffering population who yearn to experience a sense of peace, normalcy and decent life. We also felt that your administration is unstable and caught up in a ferocious cohabitation war with the all powerful President and therefore cannot bring about a permanent settlement to the ethnic conflict by restructuring the Sri Lankan political and constitutional systems. We had no choice but to suspend the talks to compel you to rethink and review the ground situation and redefine the agenda for a radical change. It is in this context our leadership proposed an Interim Administrative framework, an innovative new structure with specified politico-administrative functions, vested with adequate authority and legal status ‘with greater participation of the LTTE in both decision making and delivery of the tasks of rebuilding the war damaged economy and restoring normalcy in the Tamil speaking homeland.’ As we have stated, we entrusted the task of formulating the new interim administrative structure to your government hoping that you may find a radical and creative method to overcome the legal and constitutional impediments. But we are disappointed to note that you have not given a clear and precise response to our proposal but rather indicated, negatively that you could not act against the rules and laws of the land. Instead, you are suggesting a new structure limited to development and reconstruction activities in which the role of the LTTE is subjected to further discussions and clarifications. We regret to say that your suggestions are unsatisfactory and therefore unacceptable.

In conclusion, we wish to assure you that we are prepared to resume negotiations if you reconsider your position and offer us, for our consideration, a draft framework for an Interim Administrative structure along the lines proposed by our leadership. We hope that you will consider our suggestion favourably.

 

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