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Home  > International Relations in the Age of EmpireInternational Frame & the Tamil Struggle > Australia.& the Tamil Eelam Struggle >Australasian Federation of Tamil Associations to Australia's Foreign Minister - 13 December 1998  

australia &
the tamil Struggle for freedom

Letter from the Australasian Federation of Tamil Associations
to Australia's Foreign Minister - 13 December 1998

The Hon. Alexander Downer MP
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Parliament House
ACT 2600

Dear Minister,

Enclosed a summary of the address by Mr Vellupillai Pirabaharan, the leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The address delivered at the National Heroes Day- Maha Veerar Naal on 27 November 1998 outlines the policy and position of the LTTE and draws attention to ground realities.

In his speech Mr Pirabaharan had stated quite categorically that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam "are open to the civilised method of resolving conflicts through rational dialogue" and that they " favour third party mediation under the auspices of the international community for political negotiations"

The Australian Tamil community welcomes this move by Mr. Pirabaharan. We wish to draw your attention to this in view of the advice given to us (from time to time) by officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs that a definite statement by Mr Pirabaharan was a pre-requisite to any diplomatic initiative by Australia.

In his address Mr Pirabaharan has clearly

(a)    Signaled the LTTE's readiness to commence negotiations under international third party mediation.

(b)    Identified the necessity for a restoration of normalcy and a climate of goodwill for such talks to take place.

(c)    Indicated his preparedness to engage in initial talks to discuss the removal of the restrictions (economic, food and medical) placed on the Tamil people.

(d)    Expressed his belief that the Sinhala political establishment is unlikely to undergo a fundamental transformation of its chauvinistic and hawkish attitude.

(e)    Noted with dismay the muted silence of the international community over the colossal tragedy being faced by Eelam Tamils, and

(f)    Drawn attention to the spectre of the conflict now having become a full-fledged conflagration in which armed forces of two nations are confronting each other.

We are particularly encouraged that the "Boston Globe" should respond to this speech editorially. In its editorial of 4 December 1998 the "Boston Globe" welcomed the initaitive by the Tamil leader and suggested that the Sri Lankan (Chandrika) government " should agree to withdraw its troops from the northeast province" in return for a cease-fire by the Tamil Tiger leadership.

Within Sri Lanka, Rt. Rev. Dr. Rayappu Joseph, Bishop of the Diocese of Mannar in an interview with the Sinhala-owned "Sunday Leader" of 6 December 1998 declared that he looked upon the LTTE leader Pirabhakaran's Heroes' day message as a clear inclination on the part of the Tamil leader for a negotiated settlement of the costly ethnic war. The Bishop had urged the Sri Lankan Government to take note of the speech positively and enter into negotiations.

We too call upon the international community in general and the Australian Government in particular to take note of this speech positively and persuade the Sri Lankan Government to enter into negotiations with the Tamil leadership - the LTTE.

The Australasian Federation of Tamil Associations is of the firm view that a political solution to the conflict can only be arrived at in the absence of an armed conflict and seeks the Australian Government's assistance to bring about an immediate end to the armed conflict.

Yours sincerely

Ana Pararajasingham
Australasian Federation of Tamil Associations

The Summary of Mr Pirabaharan's speech is the version to be found in the Tamilnation website - http://www.tamilnation.org 



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