Sri Lanka president invites TNA to work with govt; democracy to areas re-taken from Tigers

February 04 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s president invited the largest political party representing north-eastern Tamils to work with the government in his Independance Day speech and promised democratic rule to territory recently wrested back from Tamil Tiger control.

. President Mahinda Rajapakse said the Tamil National Alliance, widely considered to be Tiger proxies, had so far not ‘entered into dialogue or understanding’ with his government.

“It is only by joining with us that the innocent Tamil people of the North can be liberated from terrorist intimidation and the misdeeds of violence; and the North could be emancipated,” President Mahinda Rajapakse said in an address broadcast live to the nation.

“If you are anguished in fear and anxiety; and lack in human freedom, however much democratic the political ideology you claim to follow, I must state in all honesty that none of you are free men.”

A week ago, rebel parliamentarians from the opposition UNP, and several minority parties joined the government, giving it a much needed absolute majority in parliament.

President Rajapakse said the country’s armed forces had liberated Tamil people ‘who were taken hostage and used as human shields,’ by the Tigers.

“Similarly, we should now take