NATIONAL

Learn from us, LTTE tells U.S., Iraq

Hakone (Japan) March 21. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) today said the United States and Iraq should learn from its example of making peace with the Sri Lankan Government and urged the United Nations to prevail upon the two warring parties to restore normality.

``It is regrettable that the U.S. attacked Iraq without proper endorsement of the U.N. though we are also against the dictatorship of the Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, and his not respecting the U.N. resolution,'' the LTTE's chief negotiator, Anton Balasingham, said.

``The LTTE is known for violence but we are renouncing it and pursuing the path of peace. Our example should be followed by other countries,'' he said at the conclusion of the sixth round of peace talks between the Sri Lankan Government and the Tigers here. ``Our effort to achieve peace is an example to the world that the solution to any long-standing problem can be achieved through negotiations,'' he added.

Endorsing Mr. Balasingham's views, the Sri Lankan Government's chief negotiator, G.L. Peiris, said both the Government and the LTTE are determined to overcome the challenges. Prof. Peiris appealed to the U.S. and Iraq to learn from the example of the Sri Lankan Government-LTTE way of resolving the problems through negotiations.

Mr. Balasingham and Prof. Peiris were talking to the media at a joint news conference after the conclusion of sixth round of peace negotiations. — UNI

Gesture to rivals

AFP reports:

The LTTE wound up the talks here today by agreeing to allow rival groups to contest local elections in areas under its control.

Mr. Balasingham said his organisation would not contest the local council elections, but would encourage others to take part.

``We have no intention of reviving our political party (formed in 1989). It is defunct, but we will encourage all other parties to contest the elections as a significant step by the LTTE to move towards a democratic system,'' he said. There had been no democratic elections in areas held by the Tigers, he conceded.

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