The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) yesterday welcomed US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns` support to the Sri Lankan Government to combat terrorism to bring peace to the country.
JHU Secretary General Champika Ranawaka said Burns` visit and his message that the US will not hesitate to back the Sri Lankan Government against future terrorist attacks, has reflected more or less the US policy on terrorism.
Ranawaka commended Burns for openly declaring facts about terrorism and for condemning the LTTE as a terrorist organisation.
`We also appreciate the support extended by the US to safeguard Sri Lanka`s territorial integrity,` he said.
Reflecting on Burns` call for the LTTE to stop its terrorist activities and resume peace talks, Ranawaka said the JHU had maintained for many years that the LTTE should stop all types of killing and acts of violence as the basis to begin peace talks. He stressed that the talks should be held in Sri Lanka and in no other country. The Government has proved it can facilitate security arrangements.
Ranawaka was referring to LTTE theoretician Anton Balasingham`s arrival under the security of the Sri Lanka Air Force and Army.
He was critical of the Government for allowing Balasingham to come here. `He is a leader of a terrorist organisation and he was flown from London to meet his leader Prabhakaran. If he had come to meet the Government, the JHU would not mind that action,` said Ranawaka.
`Such talks may be facilitated by Norway in keeping with their role as the facilitator of peace talks,` Ranawaka added.
If a terrorist spokesman like Balasingham could come to the country with security provided by Government Forces, what was the obstacle for the talks being held in Sri Lanka, he asked.
He also charged that the LTTE was attempting to acquire equal status with the Government by insisting on having talks in a foreign country. `The JHU does not entertain the idea that the Government should get the LTTE for talks by `whatever` means as a response to the mounting number of killings and terror carried out by the LTTE,` he said.
The JHU had clearly stated that the talks must be held with the LTTE at the All Party Conference at Temple Trees.
`But if the Government should achieve peace through dialogue with the LTTE, it should be conducted in a violence-free background, and the final solution may be arrived with the LTTE giving up separatism and surrendering their arms,` he pointed out. The JHU firmly believes in achieving an honourable peace as enunciated in the Mahinda Chinthana, he added.