LTTE woos Mandela to boost its image

By Bandula Jayasekara
The LTTE is trying hard to get former South African President Nelson Mandela to participate as a distinguished observer at the forthcoming meeting of its constitutional experts scheduled to be held this week, our London based sources reveal.

The LTTE, the sources say, is trying desperately to get Mandela to attend the meeting somehow and to set up a meeting and /or photo opportunity with Nelson Mandela in an attempt to boost its international image. The LTTE is of the opinion that it could gain much mileage by meeting and posing with Mandela since he is known as a freedom fighter, a position Vellupillai Prabhakaran is trying hard to achieve despite his gruesome killings and the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Sri Lankan President R. Premadasa.

The LTTE used deception to obtain a letter of support from Mandela when he was the President of South Africa and this letter of support was read out at a terrorist propaganda conference held in Australia, under the guise of a "peace conference". The LTTE used to have annual ‘Peace Conferences’ in London, Australia and Canada until the publication of an article by Island correspondent Dushy Ranatunge. This article was based on his visit to the ‘peace conference‘ in Canada ‘Dinosaurs of the Tamil cause congregate in Ottawa’ and resulted in the suspension of LTTE international conferences as all the names mentioned in the article were blacklisted and they were unable to get visas to have any more ‘international peace conferences’. It was only before that the LTTE succeeded in getting a small letter of congratulations from President Mandela, who had been made to believe that it was a genuine peace conference.

Intelligence reports say that they helped each other and some ANC members were trained by the LTTE in handling explosives during the former’s fight against the apartheid regime of South Africa. It enabled the LTTE to have close links with some sections of the ANC. Meanwhile Ireland said that it didn’t have any information about Mandela’s visit to Ireland. However the LTTE is trying to meet with John Hume who brokered the IRA peace deal and met the LTTE in Kilinochchi. Island sources also said that the visa for the LTTE groups to visit Ireland is yet to be granted.