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LTTE may refuse to negotiate with Muslim leader Hakeem - Hindustan Times, India

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  • Zafar Khan
    LTTE may refuse to negotiate with Muslim leader Hakeem PK Balachanddran Colombo, August 30 http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_356193,00050002.htm The LTTE
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 30, 2003
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      LTTE may refuse to negotiate with Muslim leader Hakeem

      PK Balachanddran
      Colombo, August 30

      http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_356193,00050002.htm

      The LTTE has said that the accredited Muslim
      representative at the peace talks, the Sri Lanka
      Muslim Congress (SLMC) leader Rauff Hakeem, does not
      qualify to be a representative of the Muslims of the
      North and East, which is the problem area, and has
      hinted that it will not talk to him.

      The LTTE' s political wing leader, SP Tamilchelvam,
      has been quoted in the Sudar Oli daily as saying in
      Paris that the Muslims of the North-East desire to
      have one of their own kind as their representative at
      the peace talks. Hakeem, Tamilchelvam said, did not
      fit the bill because he did not belong to the
      North-East. He has been elected from the Central
      province and is a resident of Colombo.

      The LTTE leader then went on to blame Hakeem for the
      on-going Muslim-Tamil violent conflict in the Eastern
      districts. He said that having been rejected by the
      Muslims of the North-East, Hakeem might be creating
      these incidents only to re-establish his leadership.

      The LTTE is exploiting the existing opposition from a
      section of the Muslims to Hakeem and the SLMC being
      the sole representative of the Muslims in the peace
      talks and other discussions with the LTTE. Muslims
      belonging to other political parties have asked why
      they should be excluded. There is the National Unity
      Alliance, led by Mrs Ferial Ashraff, whose husband MHM
      Ashraff had founded the SLMC. A substantial section of
      Muslims in the East owe allegiance to the United
      National Party (UNP), which is the leader of the
      ruling coalition.

      However, if one looks at Tamilchelvam's Paris
      statement from a broader angle, it does suggest that
      the LTTE is moving towards accommodation of the
      Muslims. "It is the duty of the LTTE to protect the
      Muslims even as it is the duty of the Muslims to weed
      out those among them who are turning to violence
      (against the Tamils or the LTTE)," he said.

      He further said that the LTTE would take up with the
      Sri Lankan government the cause of the Muslims." But
      before talking to the government, we will hold
      discussions with the Muslim leaders. We are firm on
      this matter," Tamilchelvam assured.



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