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"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."

- Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Sri Lanka's Broken Pacts & Evasive Proposals > The Thimpu Talks - July/August 1985 > Introduction > Initial cease fire proposal by Eelam National Liberation Front in April/May 1985 > Terms of cease-fire proposed by Indian Government Agencies > Joint response by Eelam National Liberation Front to cease-fire proposals, 18 June 1985 > Tamil Liberation Organisations refuse to participate in talks with Sri Lanka, 29 June 1985 > Diary of Phase I of Thimpu Talks, 8 July 1985 to 13 July 1985  > Joint Statement by Tamil Liberation Organisations on cease-fire violations by Sri Lanka, 9 July 1985 > First Proposal by Sri Lanka Delegation, 10 July 1985 > Joint Statement by Tamil Liberation Organisations, 12 July 1985 > Response by Sri Lanka Delegation, 13 July 1985 > The Thimpu Declaration,13 July 1985 > Opening statement by Sri Lanka delegation - Phase II - 12 August 1985 > Joint Response of Tamil Delegation, 13 August 1985 > Statement by Nadesan Satyendra on behalf of Tamil Delegation,14 August 1985 > Joint Statement by Tamil delegation on recognition of representative character, 15 August 1985 > Response of Sri Lanka delegation on recognition, 15 August 1985 > New Proposals by Sri Lanka Delegation, 16 August 1985 > Joint Response by Tamil Delegation to new proposals, 17 August 1985 > Joint Statement by Tamil Delegation immediately prior to walk out, 17 August 1985 > A Brief Note on the Thimpu Talks - David Selbourne, Oxford, August 1985 > S.Sivanayagam on the Thimpu Talks - The Sinhala- Tamil Conflict & the India Factor > Thimpu Declaration: The Path of Reason - Nadesan Satyendra, 1987

Thimpu Talks - July/August 1985

Joint Statement made by Tamil Delegation
on question of recognition of its representative character

- 15 August 1985

Before you proceed to place before us the so-called proposal of the Sri Lankan Govt., the Tamil delegation wishes to seek clarifications on two matters. Your response to these two issues will determine whether the talks can continue or not. I therefore urge you, Gentlemen, to listen carefully to what we have to say and treat it with utmost seriousness.

The first issue pertains to the legitimacy of the Tamil Delegation present at Thimpu. The Statement of 12th August by the Leader of the Sri Lankan Govt.'s delegation which was, no doubt, prepared largely for domestic and international consumption refers to the Tamil delegation as "Six groups representing interest of certain Tamil groups in Sri Lanka".

We wish to state emphatically that the six organisations comprising of the Tamil delegation at the Thimpu talks are not mere negotiators representing a clientele - we are a liberation movement who are the sole legitimate representatives of the Tamils of Eelam or Tamil Eelam. In short, we represent the Tamil Nation.

We also wish to point out that a liberation movement does not drop from skies; it grows in response to the widening and deepening of national oppression against a people and is in turn nurtured and sustained by the support and confidence that it enjoys from the people. We the Tamil Eelam Liberation Movement who are committed to the liberation of our people from National Oppression and Repression took to arms, not for the love of arms. We resorted to the force of arms because all force of reason had failed to convince the successive Sri Lankan Govts. of the need to resolve the Tamil National Question.

Gentlemen, your presence at this table is the direct result of our armed struggle and your Government's request to talk to us is because it knows fully well that we the six organisations represented here together comprise the sole legitimate representatives of the Tamil people. But it is not enough that these realities be known to just the two of us. The Thimpu talks has acquired an international dimension that these realities become manifest in the peace talks.

In this point, I wish to highlight another practical problem. How is your Government going to explain to the international community that it is seated across a table trying to arrive at a negotiated settlement with a "group" which does not represent the entire Tamil people or a Tamil Nation?

How are we going to explain to our people that we are seated across a table with a hostile government which does not recognise us a s their sole legitimate representative? This is a practical problem that needs to be resolved if the Thimpu talks are to continue and the burden of resolving this practical problem lies with you - because it is a problem that was created by you. In any event, we can pose another reasonable question. What right have you to question our legitimacy when you seek to run away from the will of your people by seeking a referendum? But we do not wish to make an issue of this right now, since most governments of the world today which rule through constitutional dictatorship like your Govt. do not enjoy the support or confidence of its people.

We now come to the second issue that we wish to raise before we proceed. The Leader of the Sri Lankan delegation yesterday indicated an eagerness to present certain proposals as regards land settlement. We have pointed out time and again at the first round of talks, that we have absolutely no intention of discussing subjects for devolution without coming to an agreement on the system of government and the unit for devolution of power. The framework that you presented at the first round was duly rejected and reasons cited. We are therefore puzzled as to your present attempt to present fresh proposals. We await your responses to the matters that we have raised before deciding whether we can participate in these talks any further..

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