Reduce Army - TNA

May 1 (InfoLanka) TNA parliamary group leader R. Sampanthan said it was the birthright of the internally displaced people to resettle in their own lands and there was no need for them to seek permission from the government or the Army to return to their own lands.

Addressing a gathering at the Jaffna office of the TULF, Mr. Sampanthan said now that the war was over there should not be any hurdles for the return of the internally displaced people to resettle there. "We are not asking the government to withdraw the army completely from the Jaffna peninsula. Our position is that the army should reduce its presence amidst populated areas enabling the return of normalcy in the lives of Tamil people", he said.

Mr.Sampanthan said that since the signing of the ceasefire agreement the government had not provided much assistance to the resettled families except dry rations. The LTTE had suspended participating in peace talks because of the government's inability to provide agreed assistance to the affected families. The TULF in the past negotiated with the then governments to regain the lost rights of Tamils but could not succeed due to opposition from hardline elements. Now the government had come forward to talk to the LTTE because security forces did not have the ability to break the military stalemate, he said.

Mr.Sampanthan said that in any talks the LTTE would represent the Tamil people. This was the decision not only of the TULF but also of the entire Tamil people in the northeast. He said funds provided by the international donor agencies should primarily be used for the reconstruction of the war torn northeast province. Any attempt to divert funds allocated for the Northeast to other parts of the country would not be accepted by the Tamil people.