|Thursday, 26 June 2003|
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Putting peace and country before power
The comparatively positive input by the LTTE's chief negotiator Anton Balasingham, to discussions held by him with Norwegian facilitators in London, raises hopes of a resumption of the Govt.-LTTE negotiatory process. Rather than being dismissive of Government overtures for a resumption of talks, Balasingham was quoted saying that the LTTE was willing to study the Lankan State's proposals for a North-East administrative mechanism and to suggest improvements to the concept, formulated by the organisation.
This is welcome news and we hope a constructive dialogue between the parties would soon get under way.
However, as we suggested yesterday in this commentary, the LTTE needs to help in creating a conducive climate for the resumption of negotiations. MoU violations by the LTTE and continuing acts of terror, such as those which claimed army informants in the South and police intelligence sleuths, such as IP Sunil Thabrew, are unlikely to restore the credibility of the LTTE and convince the Government and the people that the LTTE is in earnest when it speaks of a negotiated settlement. It is important that the LTTE projects a non-combative, peaceful disposition, if its reconciliatory sentiments are to be taken seriously.
Meanwhile, the State too needs to get its act together, if it is to convince the LTTE and the people of the North-East in particular that the peace process is unlikely to encounter any pitfalls or hurdles in the future.
As to whether the Government would be in a position to present a united front in this context would depend significantly on the measure of peaceful cohabitation the President achieves with her Cabinet. Both arms of Government need to remember that it is the popular wish that the cohabitational exercise proves successful. There is no question of our having a "UNF peace" and a "PA peace".
Time is fast running out and it would clearly be in the national interest for both arms of the State to present a united front in the effort to bring peace. Any signs of disunity among the different organs of State, would be exploited by the enemies of peace for the torpedoing of the negotiatory process.
Besides, we call for closer rapport among decision-makers on issues which will impact substantially on the peace process. A tug-of-war among them on crucial decisions would have a deleterious impact on the search for peace.
The short-sightedness of those seeking short-term political gain could be exceedingly disquieting. Little is it realised in some quarters that a crippling of the peace process could push the country back into the abyss of bloody war, social discord and economic ruin. Of what good will be the acquiring of a few seats of power if the country is plunged into ruin?
The silent majority wants the peace process to be resumed. They would strongly disapprove of attempts aimed at blighting their lives and the future of unborn generations.
It is our hope that humanity would prove more powerful than covetousness and unbridled ambition for the fleeting thrills of power and position.
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