Peace Talks, CFA will not be affected - Thamilchelvan

[TamilNet, Saturday, 06 March 2004, 11:19 GMT]
Talking to journalists during the press conference at the Peace Secretariat Saturday, LTTE Head of Political Wing, S.P.Thamilchelvan said that LTTE will maintain its firm committment to the peace talks and the Ceasefire Agreement and that LTTE leader Pirapaharan is always ready to provide amnesty to those who realize their mistakes.

T.Ramesh, Special Commander for Batticaloa-Amparai district said "the events in Batticaloa are caused by a single individual. The decision Karuna has made is his own. He has not discussed this with the leadership. The commanders, officials and fighters do not accept the decisions he has made on his own."

Excerpts from the press conference follow:

Special Commander Ramesh (Photo: Reuters)
(Photo: Reuters)
Press: What will happen if Karuna refuses to relinquish responsibilities?
Ramesh: Decisions in our movement are made by our our leader Pirapaharan. So, if this continues to be an issue, we will consult our leader for actions to be taken for next stage.

Press: What is your response to Karuna's allegations that important administrative positions are not given to eastern cadres?
Ramesh: This is an isolated opinion of Mr. Karuna. There are many sections in our organisation and our important office is the Head office which administers all other sections. Mr. Puthiyavan leads this head office. It is important to note that he is from Batticaloa. Not only that, and you are all aware that Karuna is a central committee member and he was functioning next to our leader.

Press: You have said that the matter has been precipitated by some malicious elements opposed to the Tamil Eelam liberation struggle. Can you elaborate?
Ramesh: We cannot comment on this at this time.

Press: People in Batticaloa are shocked and confused, what do you have to say to them?
Ramesh: This is why we have come to Vanni. Our fighters and people wanted us to approach our leader to resolve the matter expeditiously. We are discussing ways to avoid unnecessary losses to our people and fighters. I have served under Karuna amman as a deputy and I know the ground realities well. I am very well aware that our fighters and officers are sincere to our national leader.

Press: How would you respond to the charge that there is uneven development focus between Vanni and Batticaloa-Amparai districts?
Thamilchelvan: There is no question that there are differences. The development in North East as a whole is delayed. The International community is well aware of this and our people are cognizant of this. I made a recent visit to European countries to stress the need for development focus in the North East. The reality is that there is no development in Northeast. Karuna himself is on record as saying that the development in Northeast as a whole is not satisfactory. It seems like Karuna is using such arguments to use regional sentiments in his favour.

Thamilchelvan (Photo: BBC)
(Photo: BBC)
Press: Karuna has said that he was asked to send 1000 fighters to Vanni. He has also said that political murders have been carried out by the intelligence wing. What is your comment?
Ramesh: Our leader has not asked to send fighters from Batticaloa to Vanni. There is no truth in this. When we were there, Karuna didn't mention that he suspected the intelligence wing for the murders. The Intelligence wing is under direct control of our leadership like other key sections in our movement. Leader Mr. Prabakaran has been concerned about disturbing events towards the elections on a continuous basis and he also has raised the issue internally repeatedly. Several times we requested Karuna Amman to investigate the murders.
Thamilchelvan: Our leader has been very firm in keeping a atmosphere conducive for a genuine and democratic elections. Our leadership is saddened by the disturbing events at a critical juncture where the whole Tamil community is working together towards the elections. Our leader has given strict directions to ensure that there should be no violence during the days leading to the polls. We also think Karuna's actions were intended to cause damage to the democratic process.

Press: Karuna, in his letter has said that Pirapaharan is like a god to him. Can you comment?
Thamilchelvan: Our leader doesn't like himself being described as 'God'. Our leader respects and adores people who have an undisputed commitment to the cause, the policies, nation and the people.

Press: Will the LTTE leadership provide amnesty to Mr. Karuna if he apologises?
Thamilchelvan: Our leader is always ready to provide amnesty to those who realise their mistakes and I have high hopes that Karuna will be given amnesty.

Press: Can you comment on the future of peace process?
Thamilchelvan: Our leadership and our structures remain with firm commitment to the peaceful negotiations and the cease-fire agreement, and this isolated issue will not affect the peace initiatives. Our leadership will decide upon who is going to participate in the negotiations in the next phase.

External Links:
LTTE:: Karuna has been discharged from the LTTE


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