|Wednesday, 23 January 2002|
The Oldest English Newspaper in
A 'last chance'?
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has used his first major policy speech to the new Parliament to make clear the Government's intentions to carefully consider the possibility of lifting the ban on the LTTE. It is that important an issue for the United National Front Government.
The Prime Minister and his parliamentary colleagues will argue that it is an equally important issue for the country as a whole. Mr. Wickremesinghe's speech to the House and to the nation strongly argues the case: the country has suffered, and continues to suffer, terribly from the ethnic conflict and proscription should not be allowed to become an obstacle to ending it.
Mr. Wickremesinghe speaks of a "last chance". Sophists and cynics might argue that there have been opportunities for peace before the current process and there could be opportunities in the future as well. But the Premier, as the leader of a society, speaks of that society's yearnings, its expectations and its dues. That is his appointed role, his societal function.
Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans deserve peace today - here and now. Not one more Sri Lankan, of any ethnic group, social class, male or female, should suffer for a moment more, if peace is even remotely possible. Not one Sri Lankan should be allowed to die or be maimed for life or deprived of her/his spouse or parent or son/daughter if peace could be achieved; nor should the land and the eco-system suffer. In that sense, this is the "last chance" for those millions of Sri Lankans who are already suffering or are directly at risk because of the conflict.
Equally important is the fact that this is the first time that both major national political parties are jointly in power today providing an unique opportunity for that long-sought collaborative effort for political reform and peace. This too makes it a crucial "chance".
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