LTTE's proposals significant - Armitage

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 04 November 2003, 11:11 GMT]
"The LTTE's proposal is the first time I've seen such a comprehensive delineation of the aspirations of the LTTE, and in this regard I think it's significant." United States Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage is reported to have told in a press meet in Washington.

"Our strategic interest is where there is violence and trouble anyplace -- it can spread to other places. So to that regard, we have a strategic interest," Armitage explained to the Press.

Rediff reported that Armitage has sought to allay apprehensions in some quarters, including India, that the US taking on a lead role in the peace process because of Washington's strategic interest in the island nation, especially the possibility of facilities to US warships and aircraft.

"First of all, the US government, contrary to what is sometimes popular belief, can do more than one thing at a time. For the United States, we see a real possibility that President (Chandrika) Kumaratunga -- who began the search for peace -- (and) Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe -- who continues to search for peace -- may actually be able to develop a significant, we would say, strategic centre of gravity to be able to bring or unite society behind a peace accord.

"The overwhelming interest we have is one of humanity," he argued. "And that is the development of Sri Lanka. We want this island -- this nation of over 20 million -- to be a full, complete partner in the economic life -- not only of South Asian, but of the globe. We see no reason why Sri Lanka can't be an engine, an engine of growth in South Asia and I look forward to the day, when it will be," Armitage said according to Rediff.

When asked about the possibility of the 'terrorist' designation being lifted, Armitage reportedly said, "This in itself does not remove in any way the LTTE from the FTO list. In order to be removed from the list, the LTTE must, in word and deed eschew the use of terrorism -- that is violence against innocent as a political weapon."

Noting that the Interim Self Govering Authority (ISGA) proposals "does go outside the bounds of Oslo and that envisioned in Oslo and Tokyo, where we talked about a federation, a democratic society, respect for human rights and territorial integrity of the entire island....we need to kind of come back towards the boundaries envisioned by Oslo," Armitage said according to Rediff.

Armitage had an impromptu interaction with the press after emerging from an hour long discussions with Ranil Wickremesinghe who is currently in Washington for a scheduled meeting with the U.S President George W.Bush Wednesday at the White House.

 

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