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 Post subject: Tamil Tigers must compromise for peace - Sri Lanka
 Post Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 11:36 am 
Tamil Tigers must compromise for peace - Sri Lanka
"If the LTTE's demand for a separate state is non-negotiable, what exactly are we going to negotiate with them?"

Sri Lanka's US envoy, Bernard Goonetilleke asked whether the United States, if faced with a similar situation, would negotiate with the Tigers, notorious for its suicide bombings and blamed for the assassination of various political leaders, including a Sri Lankan president and a foreign minister. He said countries who repeatedly call for a return to peace talks are failing to understand the nature of the conflict.

@ Agencies / PTI /
26 Jan, 2008


Sri Lanka said Friday it could not return to the negotiating table with the Tamil Tigers unless there was a guarantee from the rebels that they would not walk away from the talks.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) must also be prepared to compromise on its demand for a separate state in Sri Lanka's north and east, said the country's US envoy, Bernard Goonetilleke.

The LTTE wants "to establish a separate state by hook or by crook," he said at a forum in Washington.

"Against this backdrop, the question we ask from those who urge the government to seek a negotiated settlement is, are they asking us to negotiate with the LTTE once again," he said.

"If the LTTE's demand for a separate state is non-negotiable, what exactly are we going to negotiate with them?" he asked.

Goonetilleke said Colombo attempted to hold six series of talks with the Tigers over the last two decades, only to see the rebels walking out on each occasion.

Goonetilleke asked whether the United States, if faced with a similar situation, would negotiate with the Tigers, notorious for its suicide bombings and blamed for the assassination of various political leaders, including a Sri Lankan president and a foreign minister.

"Some may even ask, if the players were different, for example, would the US negotiate with a terrorist group which has used suicide bombers to assassinate one president, nearly killed another president and assassinated several secretaries, including the secretary of state?"

The envoy called on the international community to persuade the Tigers to return to the negotiating table "and to hang in there until a satisfactory compromise is reached."

"Only such action will drive home the message that undemocratic methods of seizing power as the Tigers currently employ, are unacceptable to the civilized world," he said.

"In the current military campaign there has been no role of India. But in a political context it has been a very positive role they have played and we are very appreciative of that. And from understandable reasons India does not get involved in the military campaign," Ambassador Bernard Goonetilleke said in response to a question from PTI.

He was speaking here at a discussion on the "Ceasefire Agreement, the Peace Process and the International Community".

Goonetilleka accused the LTTE of using peace talks as a "ploy" to regroup and replenish their supplies, and said countries who repeatedly call for a return to peace talks are failing to understand the nature of the conflict.


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