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“Inner well springs” of Tamil struggle can’t be destroyed, says South African Minister

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 22 April 2009 18:26 One Comment]

22_04_09_Padayachie_02_79828_200 South Africa’s deputy minister for Communications, Radhakrishna Padayachie, has voiced his support for the establishment of an independent Tamil homeland and reiterated calls for bilateral talks between the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE to establish a permanent peace. The African National Council (ANC) Member of Parliament, citing a "common conviction in the right to people for self determination" as the basis of continued relationship between his party and the LTTE, rejected suggestions that the LTTE can be defeated, and added that a political solution that addressed the "resolution of the minority question" was the only possible way forward.


"A liberation movement that is founded from the inner well springs of the people and grounded on the aspirations of the people can’t be destroyed," Padayachie said, a day before from the April 22nd elections.
The Sri Lankan Government should lift its ban on the LTTE and "do what history says you must…and address the principle of the self determination of the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka" Padayachie said.

Citing Sri lanka’s "obstinate" belief in its own military superiority as the basis for its refusal of a ceasefire, the minister also believed India’s complicity in the issue stemmed from its hesitations of a two state solution as a result of the continued issue of Tamil Nadu, a problem that is "predetermining the way certain powers are orientating themselves towards the Sri Lankan conflict."

The Minister urged the International Community to identifiy the LTTE’s 2003 Interim Self Government Accord (ISGA) as a basis for future talks, and a mandate which should be used by other nations to force the Sri Lankan Government to come to the negotiating table.

Full text of the interview follows:

TamilNet: What is the basis of the relationship between the LTTE and the ANC?

Padayachie: The relationship with LTTE goes back many years, a historic relationship of partnership born out of a common conviction in the right to people for self determination, in belief of peace and justice. We share a common struggle for the creation of a society based on equality, respect for human rights and justice. In the coming period, as developments unfold in Sri Lanka, there is a growing warmth and commitment by both organizations to work towards a common idea of peace and justice in Sri Lanka.

TamilNet: What impact does the ban on the LTTE have on any prospects of peace in Sri Lanka?


Padayachie: For there to be long lasting peace, all the parties in the negotiations process have got to feel that they have the capacity to freely negotiate. You cannot have one party come into the negotiating table with its hands tied. If the proscription, or the fact that the LTTE is a banned organization in Sri Lanka continues to remain, it will not be productive, it will not create the right kind of atmosphere to generate a proper settlement for all parties.

TamilNet: The Sri Lankan Government has rejected repeated calls for a ceasefire by the LTTE and other nations. What do you believe is the mindset of the Sri Lankan administration?

Padayachie: If you have one of the parties still believing they have no need to talk because they are more powerful and they will be able to solve the problem through military action, you do not have the appropriate conditions for the negotiation to actually commence. In Sri Lanka, you have one force which is obstinate, which is thinking it can win the war and therefore do not see the need to talk. In situations like that you must identify what is going to compel them to bring them to the table and act accordingly.

TamilNet: Regional superpowers such as India have been complicit in the Sri Lankan Governments offensive on Tamil civilians. What is your reaction to this?

Padayachie: Countries in the immediate region of the conflict somehow have to be part of the solution. Any prospect for a settlement requires involvement of India. India’s actions may stem from the problem it faces regarding the concept of a two state solution in Sri Lanka, in light of its own domestic history regarding Tamil Nadu. Certain questions are predetermining the way certain powers are orientating themselves towards the Sri Lankan conflict. There has to be a great amount of discussion around some of these questions so that the modalities of addressing them must be found.

TamilNet: Do you believe there is a foundation upon which peace talks can take place between the two parties?

Padayachie: The last proposal by the LTTE, the ISGA accord (Interim Self Governing Authority), did not rule out the possibility that there could be considerable devolution of powers in some sort of arrangement. There is a basis for discussing these questions going forward, and I think that these are some of the things that can determine the kind of attitudes that can be acknowledged by the International Community and be used to pressure the Sri Lankan Government to cease its military actions and engage in bilateral discussions with the LTTE.

TamilNet: Do you believe the LTTE can be defeated?


Padayachie: History tells me that a liberation movement that is founded from the inner well springs of the people and grounded on the aspirations of the people can’t be destroyed. The principles and vision that have driven the LTTE, the aspirations for which they stand for, that will not be defeated. To defeat the LTTE, you must eradicate the Tamil people, or do what is necessary, do what history says you must, and settle the fundamental question, the resolution of the minority question of the Tamil people and address the principle of the self determination of the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka.

TamilNet: What is the reaction of the South African Government and its people regarding the crisis faced by the Tamil people?

Padayachie: We have started to see movements emerging in South Africa, founded on the principles of peace, justice and solidarity with the Sri Lankan Tamils. This base of support is now drawing more and more liberation organizations who are gravely concerned about the unfolding crisis. The ANC & its branches are willing to participate, the South African communist party, and the trade union and church organizations are also aligning themselves in this light. As the situation intensifies, these voices are likely to become louder, and continue to prevail upon the government authorities. It is clear that the South African Government at its highest level is now seized with the matter."

[Full Coverage]

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One Comment »

  • Kiara said:

    The First paragraph in this article is inconsistent with the views expressed in the full coverage article.
    What exactly is the view point of the south african deputy minister? This version’s summarized first paragraph, describes a view regarding a Tamil homeland thats not supported in the body of the text (which relates to his interview).
    Please clarify!