By V.S. Sambandan
(Reproduced from The Hindu of November 24, 2004)
COLOMBO, NOV. 24. Describing the current situation as "a very propitious moment," the Sri Lankan President, Chandrika Kumaratunga, today renewed her call to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to resume negotiations to discuss an interim administration "within a united Sri Lanka."
In an interview telecast over state TV tonight, Ms. Kumaratunga said she was "very, very keen" to resume negotiations as a "vast majority of people" were in its favour. If the LTTE was "serious" in working out a "a lasting solution" for "the Tamil people," Ms. Kumaratunga said, "This is the time to talk."
On the stalled peace talks, she said "we have agreed to talk" about an interim government and also "about the LTTE's proposal, but on the basis that they will be within the structure of a united Sri Lanka."
On the differences of opinion within her coalition government, she said, "Every single member of my Government has agreed, in public and in writing, that a solution is not through war."
Despite differences between the People's Alliance and its major ally, the Left-nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna,there was an agreement on the need for a negotiated settlement.
Asked why the talks had not started, Ms. Kumaratunga said the LTTE "only wants to talk about an interim authority," and recalled that the draft Constitution proposals submitted by her in 2000 had a section on interim arrangement.
To a question if the rebellion by the
LTTE's former special commander, V. Muralitharan (`Col.' Karuna), had
delayed the resumption of talks, she said there was a view that the LTTE
leader, V. Prabakaran, "never wants to talk from a point of
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