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Prabhakaran vows to renew fight for separate Tamil state
November 27, 2006 20:33 IST
In a blow to Sri Lanka's peace process, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam leader Velupillai Prabhakaran on Monday said that the 2002 ceasefire agreement was 'defunct' and blamed the government for its failure to solve the LTTE homeland demand, leaving the Tamil people with no choice but to have their own state.
Delivering his annual heroes' day message, Prabhakaran vowed to resume his violent struggle for a separate Tamil state, charging that President Mahinda Rajapakse was pursuing a military solution to the ethnic conflict.
He also said the Norwegian-brokered ceasefire between his rebel group and government troops was no longer functioning and was 'defunct.'
"President Rajapakse by openly advocating attacks on our positions, has effectively buried the CFA (ceasefire agreement)," he charged.
He called on the international community, which has been pressing both sides, to cease the violence that has wracked the island since December and engage in peace talks, to recognize the LTTE's struggle for independence.
"It is now crystal clear that the (majority) Sinhala leaders will never put forward a just resolution to the Tamil national question," Prabhakaran said in his statement released from an undisclosed location in the northern Kilinochchi district.
"Therefore, we are not prepared to place our trust in the impossible and walk along the same old futile path," he said, adding: "The uncompromising stance of Sinhala chauvinism has left us with no other option but an independent state for the people of Tamil Eelam."
The 2002 ceasefire agreement pledged to accept a federal solution under which the Tamils will enjoy broad autonomy. That commitment had opened the way for a ceasefire and Norwegian-brokered peace talks, which collapsed in Geneva last month.
The rebel leader said: "The Rajapakse regime hopes to decide the fate of the Tamil nation using its military power. It wants to occupy the Tamil land and then force an unacceptable solution on the Tamils."
Rajapakse was accused of rejecting Prabhakaran's deadline delivered last year for resolving the Tamils' call for autonomy in the north and east of the island. "He (Rajapakse) intensified the war, on the one hand and on the other hand, he is talking about finding a peaceful resolution."
Although the LTTE leader said the recent air and land attacks by the security forces on rebel positions violated the 2002 truce and made it a dead letter, Prabhakaran stopped short of saying if the rebels were unilaterally withdrawing from it.
The address, made every year after a week of commemorating rebels who died in three decades of violence, has been keenly awaited by government members, opposition political parties and countries such as Norway, India, Japan, the US and the UK.
Prabhakaran described the government's strategy against Tamils as two-pronged, one military and the other, economic.