Breaking its silence on the Sri Lankan government's decision to scrap a six-year-old ceasefire agreement, the Tamil Tiger rebels on Thursday said the truce should continue and that they were willing to 'implement every clause' of the Norwegian-brokered pact.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam also demanded lifting of the ban imposed on it by several countries, which it alleged was due to the 'false propaganda' of the Sri Lankan government. India, the United States and the European Union have proscribed the outfit.
"The Government of Sri Lanka, without any justification, has now unilaterally withdrawn from the ceasefire agreement. The LTTE wishes to state that even at this juncture, it is ready to implement every clause of the CFA agreement and respect it 100 per cent," LTTE political head B Nadesan said in a statement.
The rebel outfit said it was 'shocked and disappointed' that the government had unilaterally abrogated the truce pact and requested Norway to continue with its role as peace broker 'with the support of the international community'.
Apparently emboldened by its recent military successes against the LTTE, including the killing of its political wing chief S P Thamilchelvan, the government had decided last week to pull out of the 2002 agreement.
Nadesan issued the statement during his meeting with the head of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission Major General Lars Johan Solvberg in the rebel-held Kilinochchi in the northern part of the island nation.
The LTTE leader blamed the collapse of the CFA on the 'non-compliance' of the Sri Lankan government on opening one highway for the people of Jaffna. "The LTTE requested the government of Sri Lanka to implement, on a humanitarian basis for the sake of the more than 4,00,000 people trapped in the open prison that is Jaffna, just one clause in the CFA about the opening of the A9 highway," he said.
He said the government rejected this 'humanitarian' call and as a result, the peace efforts 'again came to a standstill'.
"The LTTE did not take any decision to withdraw from the CFA even when the government assassinated the leader of the LTTE peace delegation, S P Thamilchelvan, in November 2007," Nadesan said.
"The CFA was signed with the expectation that it will form the basis for bringing normalcy to the Tamil homeland that was devastated by the government's military offensives and for creating permanent peace," Nadesan said.
However, the government and military failed to implement the clauses in the agreement within the timeframe indicated, he alleged, and also accused the government of 'putting hurdles in the implementation of agreements made at the peace talks'.
"Despite this, respecting the wishes of Norway and the international community, the LTTE took part in two direct talks with the government in Geneva in 2006," he said.
"Therefore, the international community must understand this, and immediately remove the bans it has placed on the LTTE, stop believing the false propaganda of the government, accept the just aspirations of the Tamil people, and recognise the right of the Tamil people to live with self-determination in their homeland," Nadesan said.