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Home > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Sri Lanka's Broken Pacts & Evasive Proposals > Chandrika - LTTE Talks: 1994/95 > Letter from President Chandrika Kumaratunga to LTTE Leader Velupillai Pirabaharan, 12 April 1995
Letter from President Chandrika
to LTTE Leader Velupillai Pirabaharan
12 April 1995
The Office of the President
Mr. V. Pirabaharan
Dear Mr. Pirabaharan,
We have considered the issues that were referred to in your letter of 6 April 1995; these also formed the subject matter of the talks that were held between our delegations on the 10th and 11th of April in Jaffna.
I was glad to be informed that Mr. Thamil Selvan had in the course of his opening remarks, stated that the date referred to in your letter was not to be construed as an ultimatum but as an indication of a time frame within which decisions already arrived at were to be implemented.
I will now set out the four issues referred to and the actions we propose to take and/or our reactions. We are of the view that these issues vary fundamentally in character. Considerable progress has been made with regard to some of these issues and we now propose to take further positive decisions designed to ameliorate the living conditions of the people in the north. However, it is evident that other issues have military repercussions; these issues will therefore have to be addressed in the context of progress to be made with regard to political discussions leading to a negotiated end to the war.
1. The embargo
Only the following items will now remain on the list of goods prohibited for transport to the north:
Remote Control Devices
Cloth material resembling army uniforms
All other goods can be freely transported to the north. The announcement of this decision will be made on 13 April and thereafter a gazette will be immediately issued containing the list of eight items still on the embargo list.
We have looked into your statements that earlier decisions on the embargo have not been fully implemented: we note that the free flow of items removed from the embargo list has been hampered by some obstacles. We have already taken and will continue to take firm action to ensure that all such obstacles are speedily removed and that goods can be transported to the north without impediment. As part of these efforts, we will also set up at all checkpoints in and around Vavuniya civilian committees to whom any complaints can be made and immediate redress obtained.
2. Restrictions on fishing
The restrictions on fishing which were relaxed considerably by me on an earlier occasion, will be removed, taking into consideration your suggestions made to our delegation, so that fishing can be carried on at any time with only the following exceptions:
- From Devil's Point to Thaliamannar, fishing will be permitted only up to 5 nautical miles from the shore.
- Fishing will not be permitted within an area one mile either side along the coast and two nautical miles seawards from all security forces camps on the coast.
- Fishing will not be permitted in all bays, harbours and estuaries along the coast. Any problems arising with regard to the effect of this exception in the east should be discussed, as agreed with you, at a local level.
In the seas from Thondamannar to Devil's Point and in the Jaffna lagoon, fishing will be continued as at present.
The restrictions that remain are the minimum consonant with current conditions. The restriction on fishing in the seas from Devil's Point to Thalaimannar will be reviewed in three month's time within which period, the government will make all efforts to conclude arrangements to permit fishing within Sri Lanka’s territorial waters.
In removing the embargo on goods for civilian use including diesel and petrol and in removing restrictions on fishing to the minimum we have taken those steps that are necessary to alleviate the difficulties facing people in the north and to bring back to a state of normality civilian life. We are both agreed that this should be our joint first objective. I hope that with these measures and their implementation, we are well on our way to its achievement.
I shall now go on to the two remaining matters.
3. Pooneryn camp
You have asked for the removal of the Pooneryn camp on the purported ground that the Sengupidy road cannot be opened up for civilian use without this. We have withdrawn the camp perimeter by 600 meters and have given an undertaking to place no checks on the road and to allow unobstructed use of the road by civilians. We shall implement this.
However, it is not possible for us to take a decision on the removal of the camp at this time. The camp has military significance and it is also our understanding that under the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement, the status quo should be maintained and that neither side should attempt to affect the other's military capability. Nevertheless, conscious that the peace and normality we are striving to achieve must ultimately mean the reduction of military presence, we will keep this question under constant review and revert to it in three months time or when political talks are under way, whichever is earlier.
4. The movement of armed LTTE cadres in the east
We believe that this is a matter that should he negotiated within the context of the Cessation of Hostilities (COH) Agreement. We are ready to discuss this immediately with you, negotiate an annex to the COH agreement to include this as well as any other matters that are mutually deemed necessary, and to implement fully the conditions of this agreement including the activation of the peace committees envisaged therein.
We believe that the action we have taken or propose to take on the four issues raised will be satisfactory to you and provide a firm basis for the continuation of peace talks until they reach a conclusion in the resolution of the ethnic conflict.
In this context we suggest that the next round of talks centre on
- The negotiation of an annex to the COH agreement
- The finalisation of residual matters such as the joint Authority on Rehabilitation and Reconstruction so that work may be expedited and
- The shape of future negotiations.
We propose that these talks resume on any days between 5 and 10 May 1995.
President Chandrika Kumaratunge