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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2964

Democracy, Pluralism, Child Soldiers on top of Government's agenda to talk with Tamil Tigers

By Walter Jayawardhana

Colombo, 11 October, ( The government wants to take up for discussion seven core issues namely, democracy, multi-party system, pluralism, human rights, child recruitment, development of the North and East and devolution, with the Tamil Tigers President Mahinda Rajapaksa has informed the co-chairs, Defense spokesman of Sri Lanka Keheliya Rambukwella said.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Sri Lanka government have agreed to meet each other on October 28 and 29 for peace talks in Geneva, meanwhile Norway announced.

While the LTTE said they have not decided about an agenda the Sri Lanka government said it was keen on discussing the above seven points in order since they were very vital for the Tamil people.

LTTE has informed Norway that this time it was looking forward to meet the government for discussions.

The government has informed the co-chairs that the government will not be trapped within the CFA during the talks. Rambukwella emphasized that the government reserves the right to respond appropriately if the LTTE resorts to violence during or after the peace talks.

Under democracy Rambukwella stressed that all citizens of North and East should be able to participate in a democratic process of government.

Under the present circumstances in certain enclaves no democratic process takes place. During the last general elections the TULF has alleged that intimidation, ballot box stuffing had openly taken place in the North and Eastern Provinces and citizens could not take part in free elections in those areas.

Under the multi-party system all political parties must be able to take part in the political process.

In many parts of the Northern and Eastern provinces only Tamil politicians with the approval of the LTTE were allowed to function. Political parties like TULF, EPDP and PLOTE were virtually barred from politics and politicians belonging to those parties openly assassinated by LTTE gun men with impunity. Only the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) was allowed to function. TNA was sarcastically called Tiger Appointed Agents.

Pluralistic society was not allowed to function and Muslims and Sinhalese were ordered out of the Northern Province.

The defense spokesman said human rights work both ways and no party could shirk the responsibilities.

Child recruitment by force has disturbed many Tamil parents and dozen UN and human rights organizations in the world. Hundreds of child soldiers died needlessly during Eelam War 4 when they were sent to the front by the LTTE.

The Defense spokesman said the All Party Committee will tour India on the invitation by the Government of India to study the Panchayat System.

- Asian Tribune -

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