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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2526

US Stands for 'de-legitimacy' of Sri Lanka’s LTTE: Talks with them not encouraged

Daya Gamage – US Bureau Asian Tribune

Washington, D.C. 09 January (Asiantribune.com): In the heat of the fall of Tamil Tiger administrative capital Kilinochchi to Sri Lanka armed forces in the north with the dawn of the new year Robert Blake American Ambassador in Sri Lanka in a special statement issued January 06 stated that the U.S. "does not advocate that the Government of Sri Lanka negotiate with the LTTE", a remarkable turn-around of previous policy which pushed successive governments to bring the separatist/terrorist movement to the negotiating table.

Advocating talks with non-LTTE Tamil groups to "reach a political solution" Ambassador Blake attributes such resumption of talks to the "further de-legitimization" of the LTTE.

It is a very well known fact that, despite the United States declared LTTE as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) in 1997 the US State Department officials and prominent members of both chambers of the United States Congress recognizing the ‘invincibility’ of Sri Lanka’s militant group and believing that the LTTE represents the grievances and sentiments of the 12% minority Tamils continually advocated successive governments to bring the terrorist group to the negotiating table which largely gave ‘legitimacy’ to them.

As in a previous analysis carried in Asian Tribune about Sri Lanka’s lack of strategic communication has given the LTTE a free hand to influence Western diplomats, US Congressmen and the international community this Online Daily has constantly endeavored to impress on the Sri Lankan authorities that winning territories will not in any way put LTTE out of business when the American ambassador in the January 06 statement himself was skeptical about the LTTE’s total defeat.

The Online LTTE advocate Eelam Nation editorial of January 01, 2009 commenting on the fall of Kilinochchi stated: “the war is not between the Sri Lankan state and the LTTE but between the Sinhalese and the Tamils. It is a license that he is giving himself as the head of the Sri Lankan state to continue to kill the Tamils with impunity” a pronouncement not very far away from what Ambassador Blake remarked in his January 6 statement that “This will help assure Tamils that their rights are protected, that they have a say over important areas of their lives in geographical areas in which they predominate, and that they are an integral and respected part of an undivided Sri Lanka.”

In regard to sudden turn-around about bringing the Tamil Tigers to the negotiating table it is interesting to recall what Britain’s ‘great’ Winston Churchill said about the United States: “We can totally depend on the United States to do the right thing when they exhaust all options and alternatives.”

Here is the full text of the statement issued by the American Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 06 January 2006 on the issue of the fall of Kilinochchi and the importance of a negotiated settlement:

(Begin Text) The fall of Kilinochchi represents an important point in the 25-year war that has divided Sri Lanka. We hope that this event will help hasten an end to the conflict. The U.S. believes that a lasting, sustainable peace can best be achieved if the Sri Lankan Government works now to reach a political solution that addresses the aspirations of all Sri Lankans, including Tamils, Muslims, and Sinhalese.

The United States does not advocate that the Government of Sri Lanka negotiate with the LTTE, a group designated by the United States since 1997 as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. However, we do believe that a broad range of other Tamil voices and opinions must be brought into a political process to reach a political solution that Tamils inside and outside of Sri Lanka see as legitimate. This will help assure Tamils that their rights are protected, that they have a say over important areas of their lives in geographical areas in which they predominate, and that they are an integral and respected part of an undivided Sri Lanka. At the same time, such as process would further de-legitimize and erode the support of the LTTE in Sri Lanka and abroad. (End Text)

- Asian Tribune -

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