This is the statement by the Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer on 3rd August 1999 delivered in Canberra.
Dr Neelan Tiruchelvam
I was deeply shocked to learn of the tragic assassination in Colombo of Dr Neelan Tiruchelvam. Dr Tiruchelvam was a member of the Sri Lankan Parliament representing the Tamil United Liberation Front. He was also the Director of the Colombo-based International Centre for Ethnic Studies and of the Law and Society Trust and was a good friend of many Australians who have worked and lived in Sri Lanka.
I strongly condemn the political murder of this highly respected, democratically elected member of parliament. It is all the more regretable in view of the dedicated work in which Dr Tiruchelvam had been engaged to achieve a political solution to Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict. Dr Tiruchelvam was a man of principle and courage whose life and work epitomised the principles of peaceful ethnic co-existence and the rule of law, the very principles which must form the basis of a just and lasting solution to the war in Sri Lanka.
This senseless act of violence seems to have been the work of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). I call once again on the LTTE to step off the path of terrorism and urge all parties to work for a lasting political solution to the conflict in Sri Lanka. I also reaffirm the Australian Government's position that it will not have any dealings with groups or individuals that do not unreservedly condemn such acts of wanton terrorism and dissociate themselves from violence as a means to further political aims.
I extend my deepest condolences to Dr Tiruchelvam's family and to his many friends and associates.
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