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Sri Lankan Tamils want self determination: diaspora group

(Xinhua)

13:32, January 16, 2012

COLOMBO, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- A leading Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora group said Sunday that it will support discussions for a political settlement on the island if the solution alters the structure of governance in the country.

The Global Tamil Forum (GTF), which is seen by the Sri Lankan government as an organization which promotes the ideologies of the Tamil Tiger rebels, said that Tamil speaking people in Sri Lanka are entitled to the right to self-determination.

In a statement emailed to the Sri Lankan and international media, the GTF which has offices in several countries but not in Sri Lanka, said that the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka has not ended despite the end of the war nearly three years ago.

The Sri Lankan government defeated the Tamil Tiger rebels in May 2009 after 30 years of war but since then has initiated talks with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), a key political party in Sri Lanka.

However, the discussions which have failed to see the light of a final political solution despite pressure from India.

Indian External Affairs Minister S.M Krishna is scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka this week to push for progress on a political solution for the Tamils. "The governance structure of the country should recognize that the Tamil speaking peoples are entitled to the right to self-determination and granting to them irreversible autonomy in the areas of historic habitation. We for our part will support the full implementation of such an arrangement if agreed upon, and urge the international community to encourage the Sri Lankan government to come up with such an acceptable political solution and ensure its genuine implementation," the GTF said in the statement sent to the media.

The GTF has been having discussions with representatives of foreign governments including United States and Britain, urging for a political solution in Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan government, however, does not recognize any statement from the GTF and even boycotted an invitation to attend the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the African National Congress in South Africa as the GTF was among the invitees.

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