LTTE responds to Prime Minister’s offer

[TamilNet, Thursday, 19 June 2003, 18:03 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said Thursday that they would consider returning to the peace negotiations only when the Government of Sri Lanka offers a practical conceptual framework for an interim administrative structure.

Responding to TamilNet Thursday on the Sri Lanka Prime Minister’s call to the Tamil Tigers to resume the stalled peace talks, Mr Anton Balasingham, the LTTE’s chief negotiator and theoretician said that Mr Ranil Wickremesinghe had not spelt out any details of the envisaged structure.

"He has only repeated the statement he made at the Tokyo donor conference. This statement of intent, as we have already stated, cannot be a basis for negotiations," Mr Balasingham told the TamilNet.

Mr. Wickremesinghe had earlier Thursday said his government was prepared to discuss an interim administration for the Northeast. "We plan to establish an interim council with the agreement of the LTTE that will safeguard the rights of all communities," he was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Mr. Wickremesinghe also blamed the LTTE for the impasse in the peace process. "The responsibility to move forward from current problems and to resume peace talks falls on the LTTE," he was quoted by Reuters as saying.

"Operating within the confines of an entrenched constitution and facing a hostile President, Ranil’s administration is resistant to offer anything substantial in the form of an interim administration. Instead, the government is calling upon the LTTE to come up with a practical solution to draw up a mechanism. It is not prudent on the part of the LTTE to present a structure or a mechanism for an interim administrative set-up without any idea of the scope and extent to which the government could offer politico-administrative powers to the LTTE. It is precisely for this reason we are calling upon the government to come out with its ideas," Mr Balasingham observed in response.

Speaking to TamilNet Thursday, Mr Balasingham rejected the guidelines setout in the Tokyo Declarations as partial and unacceptable and therefore could not be the basis for future talks.

"We will insist on a radical overhaul of the entire peace process. We want a new, redefined agenda. We will discuss this matter with the Norwegian facilitators," Mr Balasingham further said.

 

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