June 3, 2001

Mr. Ariya Rubasinghe, Director
Government Information Department,
163 Kirulapana Avenue,
Colombo 05, Sri Lanka

Dear Mr. Rubasinghe,

Re: De-Proscription of the LTTE

Today I read Dr. Sriskandarajah’s letter to you concerning your press release # 475 of May 26, 2001. I would like to elaborate on his letter concerning why the LTTE is insisting on de-proscription at this moment before setting a date for peace talks to begin.

Dr. Sriskandarajah points out that in his Nov. 26 speech, Mr. Pirabakaran insists that talks need to be undertaken in an ‘atmosphere of tranquility and goodwill’ in order to have any chance of success. At that time Mr. Pirabakaran did not specify exactly what steps were required to provide a peaceful situation. He left the specifics to your government’s initiative within your own wishes and constraints. When absolutely no initiative was taken to de-escalate the war and to build confidence that the government was interested in a peaceful and honorable resolution to the national question, the LTTE began to be more specific in its requests. In my opinion, this is the time when the issue of de-proscription was articulated more concretely.

One of the hardest parts of any peace negotiations is to recognize that one’s adversary is worthy of being a discussant and of sitting across a table from oneself in a position of near equality. Are you and your government ready for this?

It was humiliating for the US to recognize the Viet Cong as a party to negotiations. It was excruciating for the proud Spanish conquistadors of Guatemala to look the Maya UNRG in the face and sign detailed agreements with them. The Israelis were very conflicted about sitting down with the ‘terrorist’ PLO. The proud British have taken decades to reconcile themselves to talking with the reviled IRA. In all these cases, however, a continued war was considered a worse option than the exigencies of peace. Have you reached that conclusion yet?

Yours sincerely,

Madu Suthan