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Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > International Frame of  Struggle for Tamil Eelam > US & the Tamil Struggle > Letters to US Secretary of State from Benjamin A. Gilman, Chairman, US Congress Committee of International Relations, June/August 2000

United States & the struggle for Tamil Eelam

Letters to US Secretary of State from
Benjamin A. Gilman, Chairman,
US Congress Committee of International Relations

bullet 30 August 2000 bullet 29 June 2000


August 30, 2000

The Honorab1e Madeleine K. Albright
Secretary of State
United States Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Madam Secretary:

On June 29, 2000 I wrote to you regarding my concerns over the worsening conflict and humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka. Specifically, I noted that serious human rights violations continue to occur in Sri Lanka and that the parties engaged in the conflict in that county have failed to begin meaningful negotiations.

Earlier this month, I authorized Adolfo Franco, Counsel of the House International Relations Committee, to visit Sri Lanka to assess the situation in that country. It is my understanding that humanitarian efforts continue to be impeded by needless government-imposed bureaucratic measures and that vitally needed food, medicine, and relief supplies are not adequate in the north and east of the country.

Moreover, the parties to the conflict in Sri Lanka have not begun serious negotiations but rather appear to be poised to renew the conflict in earnest in the near term. A continued lack of a free press and international media coverage have only contributed to the problems in Sri Lanka. Most disturbingly, violations of human rights and due process of law appear to continue unabated Therefore, I again urge you to express our government’s displeasure concerning the human rights and humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka, and to encourage the parties to the conflict to commence genuine negotiations.

In closing, I also wish to express my appreciation for the outstanding work of our U.S. Embassy personnel in Sri Lanka. I am grateful for the valuable assistance and insights provided by Charge d’affaires W. Lewis Amselem, Political Officers Andrew Mann and Kevin McGlothlin, and Economic Officer Ian Sheridan. These exemplary professionals should be commended for their fine service to our country.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. I look forward to hearing from you soon regarding my concerns.

With best wishes,

Gilman.gif (5789 bytes)


June 29, 2000

The Honorable Madeline K. Albright
Department of State
Washington. D.C. 20520

 Dear Madam Secretary:

I am writing to express my concern over the war and worsening humanitarian crises in Sri Lanka. It is time that our government take a more active role in resolving the crises.

The Tamil Tigers are well positioned to soon retake Jaffna. The Indian government has agreed to evacuate the trapped Sri Lankan government soldiers if both the Tigers and Colombo agree. In order for the evacuation to take place, the government will probably have to abandon their military equipment. This will be a decisive political and military victory for the Tigers.

The process of negotiations begun by Norway could begin to move forward due to the Tigers likelihood of taking over Jaffna. Although New Delhi and Colombo publically state that they will not support independence for the Tamils, it is unclear what the parties, including the Tigers, are really willing to accept. The Norwegians have the agreement of all concerned parties to help begin negotiations and Norwegian diplomats have made several visits to both India and Sri Lanka. The U.S. should make it clear that we would support all options including secession to be discussed in the negotiating process. If all preconditions are lifted then all the parties could get on with the process of resolving their differences.

The Sri Lankan government has a long history of repressing the human rights of the Tamil people. In addition, the Sri Lankan government’s embargo on food, medicine and other essentials to the Tamil people has caused a humanitarian crisis. Its ban on access for the media to the war zones could indicate that the Sri Lankan government is concerned that the outside world may learn things that may not reflect well on its image. For these reasons, it is critical that we express our displeasure over the media ban, we ensure that the flow of arms and training by the U.S. end immediately, and we strongly urge the Sri Lanka to permit humanitarian aid to enter Jaffna.

Thank you for your kind attention and I look forward to hearing shortly from you regarding this matter.

With best wishes,

Gilman.gif (5789 bytes)



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