Monday, 19 January 2004  
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We wish to talk to Prabhakaran - Tilvin Silva

by Frances Bulathsinghala

General Secretary of the JVP, Tilvin Silva in an exclusive interview regarding its alliance with the SLFP said the JVP would 'keep its Marxist identity and it would be 'proved' in the future when working with the SLFP for prosperity of the people.

He said that the alliance would not mean that the peace process would come to astandstill but said that the JVP would want the PA to talk with the LTTE on 'new' terms and that they would also wish to scrutiny the proposals by the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress for co-existing with the LTTE in the North East.

Silva said that they would 'change with the change' and would support globalisation, if its positive aspects will be used for the betterment of the country.

"We will oppose privatization, if it is done without vision. With the UNF regime it is done without vision. We will oppose this, if members of the SLFP, with whom we will work together, will make such attempts.

We will be in alliance with the SLFP as a team but we will keep our Marxist principles intact," Silva said reiterating, however, that 'they would not wish to be isolated' and 'cut off with rest of the world' in keeping with the 'old theories' of Marxism.

"We are aware of the power struggle between the two parties, the SLFP andthe UNF, but we will not be used as pawns. We have agreed on the alliance for the good of the country.

This is the only way we could get to transform the country into our vision," Silva said elaborating that the JVP would not encourage a war, although the 'country should be ready' for a war if the need be.

"We wish to talk to Prabhakaran. But we wish to talk about a unified country. Not a separate state," he said dismissing the LTTE proposals for an interim administration submitted just prior to President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga taking over the Mass Communication, Internal Affairs and Defence Ministries on November 5, 2003.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q. The JVP has been highly critical of Norway's involvement in the peace process as facilitators. Could you state how this opposition would reflect in the immediate future of the peace process?

A. We believe that the peace process and its sustaining should be an internal matter. We however maintain that if there is the dire need of having a third force, then that party should be impartial.

Norway has not been impartial. It has strengthened the might of the LTTE by ignoring its ceasefire violations and by supporting the LTTE financially and materialistically many times.

Q. You maintain that you would strive to maintain the JVP identity. Could you explain?

A. Our party is a Marxist party and we are not changing any of our ideals. We would be a part of a striving by the SLFP to change the country for the better and to stop it by being divided by the LTTE. But we would not

be 'drowned' in the SLFP. We will maintain the right to oppose. We will not be puppets. We will oppose whatever we think is detrimental to the country.

However we will be a part of an alliance, which will strive to leave power politics aside. We have maintained before that if we are satisfied with any of the two political parties political strategies that we would support it. And we have chosen the SLFP.

But through this link there is nothing detrimental to our identity as a Marxist party.

Q. What would the terms of the JVP be if it were to talk peace with the LTTE?

A. We would tell the LTTE to give up arms, to give up its military and its dreams of a separate state. We want to talk peace in a unified country.

Q. The country has been divided for twenty years of war with the LTTE running its own state. In such a situation don't you think that the country has always been separated with the LTTE running a de facto Government?

A. Yes. But it was illegal. Ranil Wickremesinghe made it legal by catering to all the whims of the LTTE. He authorised LTTE banks, which was set up after the ceasefire, thereby strengthening the administrative power of the LTTE.

Q. Many categorise the decision by the SLFP to join in with the JVP as a bid to get more political strength to defeat Ranil Wickremesinghe, while others point fingers at the JVP, that it has linked with the SLFP, because of its hunger for power.

A. As a third force we have our power. It is correct to say that we want power but it is to serve the people by changing the visionless political structure of the country.

Q. Your comments are paradoxical regarding your foreign policy. You point out that you do support globalistion. Could you specify?

A. It would be fruitless to change the clock and reverse globalisation. We oppose the signing of deals blindly with the West and getting into financial traps laid by rich countries.

However, we say, be friends with all countries, and get assistance, but strive to be self-reliant. We would especially look to strengthening ties with countries such as China and India, two countries that have strong links with Sri Lanka in an Asian context.

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