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'India won't allow separate Tamil state in SL'
Harinder Mishra in Jerusalem | March 25, 2008 12:53 IST
India will never allow a separate independent state for Tamils to be carved out from Sri Lanka [Images], the island's Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayaka said in Jerusalem on Tuesday.
"It should be borne in mind that India will never allow a separate independent state for Tamils in Sri Lanka because such a development will have a disastrous effect in India," Wickremanayaka, who is the first Sri Lankan Prime Minister to visit Israel, told a gathering.
"India has always been committed to Sri Lanka's territorial integrity," he added.
The Sri Lankan Prime Minister, who is on a four-day visit, claimed that Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam chief V Prabhakaran wanted to create a Tamil state "by including certain parts of India as well".
He said that his country is committed to a political solution to the three-decade-old conflict and is not seeking a military solution. He ruled out any division of the island nation, which has remained as one single unit throughout history.
"It is not feasible politically or economically," the Sri Lankan leader emphasised.
While asserting that his government's doors are always open to peace talks, the island nation's premier dismissed any chances of a breakthrough with the LTTE, terming Prabhakaran a 'megalomaniac leader'.
Describing the steps being taken by his government to bring strife torn areas to normalcy and to draw minority communities and peripheral populations to the mainstream, the Sri Lankan leader referred to the 13th amendment (on the devolution of power), which was based on the Indian model.
"The decision of the government to fully implement the 13th amendment has been commended by India and other countries as a welcome step in finding a political solution acceptable to all communities within a united Sri Lanka," Wickremanayaka said.
"More than any other country, India is well informed of our complex situation and the amendment that has introduced the provincial council system was a result of the Indo-Sri Lanka accord signed in the year 1987," he added.
Seeking international support in the fight against LTTE, Wickremanayaka said that is has become a cross border menace, which requires global coordination.
"The international community can help us in our fight against terrorism. If the illegal activities of the Tigers in collecting funds can be effectively curtailed and if smuggling of arms can be intercepted, LTTE can be forced to come to the negotiating table," he said.
Brushing aside international criticism on his country's human rights record, Wickremanayaka said, "We are waging a campaign against a ruthless terrorist outfit and there can be sometime minor infractions and civilian casualties".
"We are taking adequate precautions in minimizing civilian casualties and armed forces are being given training in human rights and international humanitarian laws," he stressed.