|Thursday, 3 April 2003|
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The crucial importance of LTTE cooperation
Once again, the theory of the existence of a "Third Force" in the seas off the North-East coast is being raised to explain a confrontation which has had grave security implications for the Lankan State. The event in question is the attack on the 'Lanka Muditha', a vessel belonging to the Sri Lanka Navy, off the Trincomalee coast, which was in the process of transporting security forces personnel. Fortunately, the attack was effectively repulsed by the Navy.
The "Third Force" theory first surfaced a few days ago when several Chinese fishermen died in an attack on their fishing vessel, in the Northern seas. The attack was launched by a flotilla of boats, which seemed to possess immense fire power. Basically, the same mode of attack was deployed once again in the 'Lanka Muditha' incident. It was believed in the aftermath of the former incident that a force other than the LTTE, had carried out the attack. This "Third Force" was projected as a Spoiler element which was intent on undermining the peace process. It is being theorised that this "Third Force" has shown its sinister hand once again in Monday's attack in the seas off Trincomalee.
While rushing to conclusions could prove counterproductive, the immediate and paramount need is a thorough investigation of the incident by the SLMM to enable the whole truth to be disclosed.
Although the possibility of the existence of Spoiler elements cannot be ruled out, it is only greater, concrete cooperation by the LTTE to uphold the terms of the MoU which could prevent an accusing finger from being pointed at it. Thus far, such ready cooperation by the LTTE has not been forthcoming on particularly the high seas. On the contrary, past incidents on the high seas have betrayed a tendency by the LTTE to observe the MoU more in the breach.
The LTTE could end these doubts and reservations by actively and willingly cooperating with the Government to uphold the ceasefire agreement.
In the absence of such cooperation, the ceasefire agreement could be held up to ridicule by the critics of the peace process. In fact, this is already happening. Continued breaches of the terms of the ceasefire agreement would provide these critics with the required damning evidence to project the peace process in a negative light. Since peace is the final goal of the ceasefire agreement, the LTTE should readily cooperate to advance its aims.
Meanwhile, we commend the Sri Lanka Navy on their continued vigilance on the high seas. Their courageous conduct has helped protect the sovereignty of the country and has contributed towards further beefing-up Sri Lanka's security. There is no doubt that the request on many a Lankan lip would be that the Sri Lanka Navy continues the wonderful work of upholding the law.
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