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Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home > Tamils: a Trans State Nation > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Conflict Resolution: Tamil Eelam - Sri Lanka > Thimpu Talks - July/August 1985 > Joint response by Eelam National Liberation Front to cease-fire proposals, 18 June 1985

Thimpu Talks - July/August 1985

Joint report on the proposals for cease-fire, dated 18 June 1985,
submitted to the authorised representative of the Government of India
by the Eelam National Liberation Front

We have carefully considered the set of proposals submitted to us by the Government of India to bring about a cessation of hostilities between Sri Lanka's armed forces and the Freedom Fighters of our Liberation Organisations. Appreciating the mediatory role and the good offices provided by the Government of India and accepting the assurances and guarantees offered to us, we, the undersigned Liberation Organisations have made a collective decision to observe cease-fire for a stipulated time to help to create a congenial atmosphere and conditions of normality and to facilitate the Government of Sri Lanka to put forward a package of concrete proposals on the acceptability of which negotiations for a permanent political solution to the Tamil national question can be commenced.

While we agree to suspend all hostilities to a limited span of time, we wish to state that certain terms and conditions outlined in the proposed frame work for cease-fire place us in a disadvantageous position. We wish to outline below some of our suggestions and counter proposals:

We agree to observe Phase I of the proposed framework. Section 2 of Phase I demands from the 'Militants' as a reciprocal step to the suspension of new settlements to 'cease attack on civilians - both Sinhalese and Tamils - in the North, East and elsewhere'. We regret to note that during this phase, no safeguards or guarantees are stipulated to protect the lives of innocent Tamil civilians from violence emanating from the armed forces and armed Sinhala settlers. Though not specified as a condition in the framework, we suggest that the Government of India advise Sri Lanka to take immediate steps to put an end to the continuous military and civilian armed violence against the people. In case state violence continues during the first phase involving the killing of innocent Tamil civilians, we shall consider such hostile acts as a serious breach of the truce agreement.

We wish to register our serious objection to section 2 of Phase III which allows the 're-opening of the police stations which have been closed down' and institutes state power to the police to carry out law and order functions while the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the Emergency Laws are in force. Such vital matters relating to the security and administration of law and order in our homeland should be elements of a broad framework of a political settlement rather than an aspect of a cease-fire agreement. Therefore, we are unable to accept such a proposal.

We propose that the Sri Lankan Government should present a comprehensive programme for a political settlement following the declaration of cease-fire between the 10th and 12th week. We wish to state categorically that the commencement of negotiations is conditional upon our acceptance of this political programme. We have taken this position as a consequence of a long and bitter historical experience of deceptions and betrayals by successive Sri Lankan governments who have consistently resisted a fair and honourable settlement to the Tamil problem. It is also well known that Sri Lanka had abrogated several pacts and proposals and failed to implement agreements. We should point out that Sri Lanka also adopts an invariable practise of prolonging and postponing dialogues to evade arriving at a practical solution. We do not wish to be victims of this futile exercise, but rather demand that a concrete set of proposals in a broad framework should be submitted to us for our consideration before deciding to participate in the process of negotiations as stipulated in Phase IV.

We have resolved that under no circumstances that we will extend the agreed time of cease-fire.

We also wish to express our disapproval over the usage of the category 'militants' in the cease-fire document to describe an united front of major Liberation Organisations, while ascribing the notion 'Tamil political leadership' to the TULF. Such categorisations may create serious misconceptions and undermine our status as authentic political organisations representing the aspirations of our people.

Finally, we request the date of commencement of Phase I (June 18th) be postponed to a further date to facilitate us to make necessary cease-fire arrangements. We suggest the 1st of July 1985 as a suitable date.

We would very much appreciate if our suggestions and counter proposals are considered favourably and also communicated to the government.



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