|Thursday, 5 June 2003|
|Security||Today's Top Story|
by Ranga Jayasuriya
LTTE chief peace negotiator Anton Balasingham on Wednesday wrote to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe rejecting the Government proposed apex body for North-East development, but expressed willingness to resume talks on a draft framework for an interim administrative structure for North-East reconstruction and rehabilitation.
Responding to the Prime Minister's letter on June 1, Balasingham said it has failed to address the central issues raised by the Tigers.
He said the Government's proposals seriously differ in perception from the LTTE demand. "While the LTTE is seeking an Interim Administrative framework as pledged by you in the elections and for which you received a mandate from the people, your government is proposing a development structure with limited scope and power in which the role of the LTTE is not yet clearly defined and subjected to further discussion and clarification," the letter said.
Balasingham however said the Tigers are willing to resume talks if the Government provides them a draft framework for an interim administrative structure for its consideration.
"We wish to assure you that we are prepared to resume negotiations if you reconsider your position and offer us, for our consideration, a draft framework for an Interim Administrative structure along the lines proposed by our leadership. We hope that you will consider our suggestion favourably". Balasingham said the LTTE feels that the negotiating process has moved to explore theoretical models and road-maps towards a permanent solution ignoring the "harsh existential ground realities" of the North -East population.
He recalled that the Government and the LTTE put the interim administrative structure aside at the first round of peace talks to avoid Constitutional obstacles.
Over time, he said, the original proposal for an Interim Administrative structure "metamorphosed" into different forms with different functions and powers - from a Joint Task Force which later transformed into a Sub-Committee for Immediate Humanitarian and Rehabilitation Needs (SIRHN) and finally to a Northeast Development and Reconstruction Council (DRC).
Balasingham expressed doubts whether the international community will endorse the establishment of the new administrative structure since "some of the powerful international and regional players are prejudiced against us (LTTE) and continue to deny our hard-earned status as the true representatives of our people".
He said the Tigers have a "bitter frustrating experience" of the mechanisms already constituted. "We are not convinced that creating a new apex bureaucracy within the existing systems will provide a realistic, practical solution to the formidable humanitarian problems faced by our people."
Produced by Lake House