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#246, 31 December 2007

Sri Lanka: The Way Ahead

Delegation Members:

Mr V Anandasangareee, President, Tamil United Liberation Front
Mr D Siddharthan, Chief, People's Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam
Mr Varadaraja Perumal, Chief, Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front
Mr Sritharan, General Secretary, Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front

The current problem in Sri Lanka is one of the dominance of Tamil fascism led by the LTTE on the one side and of Sinhala fascism led by Sinhala hardliners on the other. Both sides are not worried about the sufferings of innocent civilians. Human rights violations in LTTE-controlled areas are far worse than in government-controlled areas. Cultural oneness between Sinhalese and Tamils is more than so what prevails between various communities in India. Both communities can get along well. More than half of Tamil population are living in Sinhalese dominated areas and ordinary Sinhalese are all for peace.

The Tamil population has lost everything because of the fighting and which has achieved nothing. The LTTE remains the main stumbling block in finding a final settlement to the problem. The Tigers rejected have every peace proposal put forward by the Sri Lankan government. There is no point in talking to Tigers and there is no solution as long as they remain. Presently, the LTTE is in a weak position and the Sri Lankan government firmly believes that it can weaken the LTTE further. So far the Government's plan of weakening the LTTE has been successful. Although, 80 per cent of the Sri Lankan Air Force's bombing of LTTE-controlled areas is on target, no one knows the real extent of the damage.

This is the appropriate moment for peace. Both antagonists cannot come together for settling the issue on their own. India is in a better place to play a mediatory role. We are ready to accept whatever solution India supports and understand that there is no support for a separate Tamil state. The next best option is a federal solution. Within a unitary constitution nothing is going to work and we stand for such a solution based on the Indian model. Even "maximum devolution" is not acceptable. Both dominant parties of Sri Lanka - UNP and SLFP - have accepted the federal form for solution at some point of time or the other. Only communal forces like the JVP and JHU think otherwise.

All parties in India, both governmental and non-governmental, should get together and pressurize the Sri Lankan Government to accept this proposal for a solution. Tamil Nadu has a major role to play in this. The Sinhalese have always had apprehensions about Tamil Nadu. There is therefore, a need to build-up a rapport between the Sinhalese and Tamil Nadu political leadership to ensure the possibility of a solution. At the outset, the Tamil Nadu state assembly can move a resolution supporting a federal solution.

The 'sole representation' position of the LTTE is not acceptable to us. Any future negotiations should be based on pluralistic representation. Non-LTTE groups should unite strongly. However, Sri Lankan state is not interested in uniting Tamil groups. In the guise of wiping out terrorism, the Sri Lankan government aims to wipe out the entire Tamil community. If the LTTE wants to rule the interim administration for a term we are ready to accept it. The only precondition is that the LTTE should be disarmed. It is also important that there are wide-ranging reforms in the Sri Lankan administration and armed forces. India is in a position to use its leverage in achieving these goals.


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