British MPs slam Thamilchelvan ‘assassination’

[TamilNet, Saturday, 10 November 2007, 01:28 GMT]
Parliamentarians from all of Britain’s main political parties this week condemned as an “assassination of a moderate Tamil leader” the killing of Mr. S. P. Thamilchelvan, head of the LTTE’s Politcial Wing, by the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) last Friday. The All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils, which earlier this year had urged the UK government to invite Mr. Thamilchelvan to the British Parliament so that he could articulate the LTTE’s perspective, also called for peace talks.

The APPG for Tamils includes Parliamentarians from the ruling Labour party and the main opposition parties, the Convervatives and Liberal Democrats, as well as the Scottish National Party.

The British APPG for Tamils describes its objective as: “To promote in Parliament peace with justice and dignity for Tamils in the island of Sri Lanka and advance their development so as to recognise their legitimate socio-political aspirations.”

The full text of the APPG for Tamils press release, titled “British MPs condemn killing of Tamil leader Mr.S.P.Thamilchelvan, and renew call for peace talks to resume” follows:

“Violence in Sri Lanka has recently escalated to a new level. Over 5000 people have been killed since beginning of last year and many thousands of people have been displaced due to the war. Members of the British parliament’s All Party British Parliamentary Tamil Group express our deepest sympathies with the families and friends of all those killed in the recent violence.

“The All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils also joins with peace lovers in all communities and strongly condemns the assassination last Friday of the moderate Tamil leader Mr.S.P.Thamilchelvan. Killing of this nature is never acceptable whether it is Tamil or Sinhalese.

“Mr Thamilchelvan was a well recognised peace negotiator who was one of the main contacts for the international communities in facilitating peace in Sri Lanka. This assassination has slammed shut another of the doors to peace in Sri Lanka.

“As a key member of the negotiating team on the Tamils behalf, Mr Thamilchelvan has worked tirelessly since 1994 and participated at every attempted peace negotiation meeting between the government of Sri Lanka and the Tamil representatives of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. One of the objectives set by the APPG in May 2007 had been to invite Mr Thamilchelvan to the British parliament to discuss his views about the way forward for peace in Sri Lanka.

“This killing has come at a time when international organisations such as the United Nations, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and governments such as those of the US, UK and India as well as the European Parliament have all raised concerns over the deteriorating human rights situation in Sri Lanka.

“As well as condemning this killing in the strongest terms, the All Party Parliamentary Tamil Group calls on all parties to honour the Cease Fire Agreement signed back in 2002 and return to the negotiating table.”

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