Tigers call off rehabilitation talks pending ‘tangible action on the ground’

[TamilNet, Thursday, 24 April 2003, 00:00 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers Wednesday postponed the meeting of the Sub-committee on Immediate Humanitarian Rehabilitation Needs (SIHRN) scheduled for this week, to “await action and implementation on urgent matters … of resettlement and rehabilitation of Internally Displaced People and of refugees.” In a letter to Mr. Bernard Goonetilleke, the head of the Government of Sri Lanka delegation on the SIHRN, Mr. S. P. Tamilselvan, head of the LTTE’s Political Wing and head of the LTTE delegation on the SIHRN, called for ‘tangible action on the ground’ before the Sub-committee meetings resumed.

The LTTE leadership Monday had informed the Sri Lankan government that it had decided to suspend its participation in the negotiations “for the time being” citing its “deep displeasure over certain critical issues relating to the ongoing peace process.”

Also expressing regret at “having been compelled to make this painful decision,” the LTTE reiterated its commitment to seek a negotiated political solution to the ethnic question and called upon the Sri Lankan government “to restore confidence in the peace process by implementing, without further delay, the normalisation aspects of the cease-fire agreement.”

Mr. Tamilselvan’s letter to Mr. Goonetilleke concerning the SIHRN meeting was copied to Mr. Seiichiro Otsuka, Ambassador of Japan, M. Hans Brattsuar, Norway’s new Ambassador to Colombo and Mr. Selvin Ireneuss, Director of SIHRN.

The full text of Mr. Tamilselvan’s letter follows:

“In accordance with the decision of our organisation’s leadership to suspend our participation in the negotiations, we regretfully wish to postpone the next meeting of the Sub Committee on Immediate Humanitarian Rehabilitation Needs (SIHRN). It is our leadership’s wish to await action and implementation on urgent matters raised by Mr. A. Balasingham in his letter to the Prime Minister, Hon. Mr. Ranil Wickremsinghe, prior to setting a date for the next meeting. As you are aware, urgent action is required on resettlement and rehabilitation of Internally Displaced People and of refugees.

“We also wish to implore the Government of Sri Lanka to take immediate steps to act on matters already agreed at previous meetings of the sub-committee and ensure humanitarian and rehabilitation projects in the Northeast are implemented enabling the return of normal life to the people living there. In the meantime, we are also hopeful that all efforts will be made by your government to urgently seek the funds from pledges made by several international donors at the Oslo conference on 25th November last year to be targeted for identified projects through the Northeast Reconstruction Fund (NERF). In the last few months, from announcements made at our meetings, expectations among the people of the Northeast have been raised to a high level. Therefore it would be meaningless for the sub-committee to continue to meet regularly without any tangible action on the ground.

“While we regret that we are compelled to postpone the next meeting of the SIHRN, we wish to reiterate that mutual trust and cooperation can be restored through decisive and urgent action from the Government of Sri Lanka to alleviate the hardships of the people in the Northeast.”

 

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