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Federation of Tamil Associations to Australia's Foreign Minister - 13 December
the tamil Struggle for freedom
Letter from the Australasian Federation of
to Australia's Foreign Minister - 13 December 1998
The Hon. Alexander Downer MP
Minister for Foreign Affairs
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
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
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
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.
Australasian Federation of Tamil Associations
The Summary of Mr
Pirabaharan's speech is the version to be found in the Tamilnation website -