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Tamilnation > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Conflict Resolution - Tamil Eelam - Sri Lanka > Norwegian Peace Initiative > US tells LTTE: No two armies or two navies in united Lanka
US tells LTTE: No two armies or two navies in united
reports Sri Lanka Sunday Times
16 February 2003
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage in an address in Washington said internal self determination, within the framework of one Sri Lanka, was not going to be consistent with separate armies and navies for different parts of the country and that the LTTE, down the road in the peace process, will have to face up to disarmament issues.
Speaking at the Center For Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) in Washington on Friday, February 14, Mr. Armitage stressed on the prospects of peace and the problematic challenges ahead, and highlighted recent incidents that have roused tension.
While commending the peace talks in Berlin during which time LTTE cadres blew themselves up when an arms-laden trawler was apprehended, Mr. Armitage said this incident raised questions on the LTTE's commitment to the peace process.
"The LTTE is going to have to take a number of difficult steps to demonstrate that it remains committed to a political solution.
The Tigers need to honour the restrictions and conditions, that the ceasefire and future negotiations, have placed on their arms supply".
Mr. Armitage also touched on the broken pledges of the LTTE on matters regarding child recruitment. He said, "the LTTE has often pledged to stop recruitment of child soldiers, but this time, they will have to prove they can carry through and will carry through on the pledge". He also called on the LTTE to respect the rights of Muslims and Sinhalese living in areas under its control.
He called on the LTTE to renounce the terror tactics of the past and re establish its commitment to a political settlement and to a credible peace, if the United States is to consider removing the LTTE from the list of Foreign Terrorist Organization.
Mr. Armitage said that although the United States is encouraged by the LTTE's vision as a genuine political entity, the organization must 'publicly and unequivocally renounce terrorism and prove that its days of violence are over'.
"If the LTTE can move beyond the terror tactics of the past and make a convincing case through its conduct and its actual actions that it is committed to a political solution and to peace, the United States will certainly consider removing the LTTE from the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations as well as any other terrorism-related designations," Mr. Armitage said.
The Government, on the other hand, he said, must tackle key economic reforms, because ultimately the Sri Lankan community, especially in the South of the country will judge the efficacy of the peace process by its effects on their livelihood.
He called on both the Government and the LTTE to make concrete choices and compromises by June, when the donor conference is due to be held in Japan, demonstrating a united political will to proceed if they intend to seek international assistance.
"By June, both the government and the LTTE will need to have made some hard choices and compromises that demonstrate the political will to proceed if they want to meet their ambitions for international support".
While commending both parties for maintaining the ceasefire for an year, which has built a basic level of confidence among the public, he stressed that they should continue to honour the ceasefire and warned that a loss of confidence at this point would be 'extraordinarily devastating'. Mr. Armitage assured U.S. support for the peace process stating that he hoped to announce further assistance to Sri Lanka for humanitarian and economic aid at the donor conference to be held in June.