US official in Jaffna

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 25 February 1998, 23:59 GMT]
Andrew Mann, of a visiting United States Government fact finding mission told the members of the Jaffna Municipal Council (JMC) at the Sri Lanka Army's 51-2 brigade headquarters today, that the US Government had designated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) a terrorist organisation and criticising the action would be of no avail.

He was replying to councillor Jegan (Eelam Peoples' Democratic Party) who asked him why the US Government had banned the LTTE.

Jegan told Mr. Mann that the US ban will retard progress towards a negotiated political solution to the ethnic problem.

Replying to a question by councillor Robert (Eelam Peoples' Revolutionary Liberation Front) as to what steps could be taken to come to a permanent solution to the ethnic problem, Mann replied that if the Tamil parties could reach a consensus on a solution, the US could use its leverage to make the Sri Lankan Government accept it.

He also said that the US was trying its best to make the Sri Lankan Government to resolve the problem soon.

The Jaffna councillors said that the US fact finding mission was from the US embassy in Colombo. He was replying to councillor Jegan (Eelam Peoples' Democratic Party) who asked him why the US Government had banned the LTTE.

Jegan told Mr. Mann that the US ban will retard progress towards a negotiated political solution to the ethnic problem.

Replying to a question by councillor Robert (Eelam Peoples' Revolutionary Liberation Front) as to what steps could be taken to come to a permanent solution to the ethnic problem, Mann replied that if the Tamil parties could reach a consensus on a solution, the US could use its leverage to make the Sri Lankan Government accept it.

He also said that the US was trying its best to make the Sri Lankan Government to resolve the problem soon.

The Jaffna councillors said that the US fact finding mission was from the US embassy in Colombo and that Mr. Mann was the head of 'political affairs'.

Councillor Thirunavukarasu (Tamil United Liberation Front) highlighted the travails of the people of Jaffna after 20 years of war - economic ruin, no electricity, roads, or even a town hall in which JMC could hold its sittings. He requested financial help to overcome some of these problems.

Councillor Kirubaraja (Democratic Peoples' Liberation Front) said the war had destroyed the arts, culture and sports in Jaffna. He requested financial assistance to rebuild the Open Air theatre in Jaffna and complete the Jaffna Public Library as expeditiously as possible.

Brigadier Susantha Mendis, the Jaffna Brigade Commander said that he had seen to the restoration of electricity and telephone facilities in Jaffna town.

He said he has requested the Ministry of Cultural and Religious Affairs to renovate the Duraiappah Stadium in Jaffna.


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