Talks make no change in US classification of LTTE - US Ambassador to Thailand

by Zacki Jabbar
The US ambassador to Thailand Darrel Jackson says that peace talks between the Sri Lankan government and LTTE has not changed his country’s classification of the LTTE as a terrorist organisation.

Jackson who was one of the invitees for the Sri Lanka government and LTTE peace talks opening ceremony at the Ambassador City Jomtien Hotel in Pattaya,Thailand last week told "The Island" that he was present merely as an observer.

"I came here to see the opening ceremony which I must say is an historic occassion for both sides".

Jackson stressed that America is not a party to the talks.

"It is Norway that is functioning as the facilitator. I’am here merely as an observer and well-wisher", he said.

Asked if the peace talks might prompt the United States of America (USA), to lift its October 1997 ban on the LTTE, Jackson said " the ban on the LTTE remains for now.Nothing has changed so far,except the deliberations between the Sri Lankan government and LTTE.We hope these discussions will succeed in the interest of world peace".

The LTTE’s attempt to overturn the ban on the grounds that it had not committed any crime on American soil was dismissed by the American Supreme Court.

Questioned as to how America views the comments made by the LTTE’s chief negotiator Anton Balasingham in his opening statement that the LTTE is the"sole and legitimate representative of the Tamils",Jackson said "We will have to discuss that and many other things in the context of the outcome of these talks".

The main thing Jackson observed was that there has been a beginning after so many years apart "It is not the end, but we hope it will be a successful process".

The international community including America following a joint appeal by the Sri Lankan government and LTTE have agreed to assist in rebuilding the war ravaged North-East of Sri Lanka.

They have also agreed to assist in the demining process that involves the clearing of vast areas in the North-East, that have been mined over the last 20 years that the war has raged.