|Wednesday, 12 March 2003|
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National security bolstered
The sinking of what is described as a LTTE cargo vessel carrying arms, by the Sri Lanka Navy, off the coast of Mullaitivu on Monday, is bound to prove the degree of alertness with which the Lankan Navy is going about the task of protecting the country's sovereignty. Accordingly, many an accolade could be expected to be showered on the Lankan Navy by a grateful public for this valiant act of preventing a possible clandestine arms shipment from reaching the shores of Sri Lanka.
It is the wont of many a critic of the peace process to berate the Government on what is perceived as a slackening of security measures for the purpose of advancing the peace agenda. Incidents such as these off the Mullaitivu coast, prove these critics completely wrong. The security, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Lankan State are absolutely non-negotiable and the Sri Lanka Navy's degree of alertness proves that this principle is being rigorously adhered to.
While the Government would be forging ahead with the peace process it doesn't follow from this premise that the country's security and sovereignty are being bartered away. The security forces have not let down their defences and this would continue to be the case, regardless of what materializes at the negotiating table. In fact, the Mullaitivu coast incident establishes that the advancing of ethnic peace and securing national security are not mutually - exclusive endeavours.
Having said this, we need to underscore our concern for any possible adverse effects confrontations between the security forces and the LTTE could have on the peace effort. Negotiating an end to the ethnic conflict is priority number one and we hope that violations of the terms of the ceasefire agreement would be subjected to more searching analyses by both sides to the conflict. Both sides need to realise the importance of scrupulously observing the terms of the MoU in both letter and spirit.
A tendency to violate the terms of the ceasefire accord would only weaken the peace process. As we have always said, an impairment of the peace effort would benefit no one.So, although we have come to appreciate the complex nature of the problems affecting the peace process we call on both sides to make a renewed effort to uphold the terms of the accord, while reconciling their differences.
Admittedly, security is a thorny issue for both sides. The conflict has also to do with power and its equitable enjoyment and distribution. Accordingly, the peace endeavour couldn't be expected to follow a neat, pre-conceived pattern. This is the reason why our ability to resolve this problem amicably would define our greatness as a people.
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