No change in Govt. stance
Govt for talks, but LTTE always sabotaged them -
COLOMBO: The Government has always been committed to the peace
process and it is the LTTE which caused a setback in this regard by
withdrawing from negotiations proffering spurious excuses, the
Government said yesterday.
Addressing the weekly security media briefing yesterday, Government
Defence Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the Government has
always reiterated this position.
“The LTTE wants the Government to restart peace negotiations. There
were reports during the last ten days that the LTTE was willing to come
back to the negotiation table. The LTTE doesn’t have to communicate its
interest to re-enter negotiations because the Government is always fully
committed to open the doors for a negotiated settlement to the
conflict,” Minister Rambukwella said.
He said the history of the peace process showed it was the LTTE who
always withdrew from the negotiations process. The LTTE frequently came
out with various excuses to justify its withdrawal from peace talks.
“The history of the peace process is full of instances of the LTTE
backtracking - Viz. Geneva and Oslo after enjoying the hospitality of
the Norwegian facilitators.”
The Minister emphasised that during the peace talks in Geneva the
Government tabled a seven point agenda and was to take them up one by
one. However, when the Government delegation was about to meet the LTTE
in Geneva, they took up issues such as A9 road, food supplies as
prerequisites for talks to begin.
The LTTE also carried out several attacks on the Security Forces soon
after withdrawing from the peace talks including the attempt on the life
of the Army Commander Sarath Fonseka. Still, the Government did not
deviate from the peace path, the Minister said.
He said: “The Government’s policy for a negotiated settlement never
changed. When the LTTE calls for recommencing the peace talks, the
Government has to explain its stance. Government Chief Peace Negotiator
Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva called on the Norwegian Ambassador Hans
Brattskar and discussed with him the Government’s position and that the
door is open for talks.
Minister de Silva also explained to Brattskar how the LTTE withdrew
from the peace process and told him to convey to the LTTE that the
Government is ready for talks”.
Minister Rambukwella strongly denied media reports that the Norwegian
Ambassador was not allowed to visit Kilinochchi by the Government.
“The truth is we explained to him about the present security
situation as a duty of a Sovereign state. It is the duty of the Defence
Secretary and the Foreign Ministry to inform in advance about the ground
situation when a diplomat undertakes to visit the conflict zone.
A group of diplomats were attacked by the LTTE in Batticaloa.
Brattskar postponed his meeting with the LTTE till he felt it was safe
to go,” he added.
Commenting on a Memorandum submitted to the UN office in Sri Lanka
that there are flaws in the Muttur massacre investigation, the Minister
said “we will not ready to undermine the commission appointed by the
President and we are also totally against any international organisation
interfering in our investigations”.
The President appointed this commission to oversee 16 cases of human
rights violations. An International Groups of Eminent Persons are
These two committees are carrying out their investigations
successfully, even involving an Australian forensic team, he added.