Commitment to peace
All right thinking persons will laud
the Government for reiterating to the international community
that the Government is committed to a political solution.
Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told diplomats yesterday
that the Government would present political proposals without
This reassurance is significant because fears have been
expressed in certain quarters that the Government is gearing up
for a totally military solution in the aftermath of its decision
to withdraw from the ceasefire.
However, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Defence Secretary
Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and senior Government figures have always
stressed that the Government only intended to weaken the LTTE
militarily in order to bring it to the negotiating table.
The reports on the demise of the All Party Representative
Committee (APRC) are greatly exaggerated. It is now in its final
stage of drafting proposals and hopefully, it will present
political proposals acceptable to all.
The onus is on Southern political parties to present a
package that the LTTE cannot shy away from.
The proposals should also seek to drive the Tamil civilians
in uncleared areas further away from the LTTE, which is already
deeply unpopular for forcibly recruiting at least one member of
each family to its depleting ranks.
The Government has rightly stressed that the doors would
always be open for talks, even without a ceasefire. All
Governments, including the present one, have been committed for
peace talks but it is the LTTE that shunned and sabotaged them
for no apparent reason.
This in itself reflected the LTTE’s predilection for war. A
peaceful resolution to the conflict seems to be anathema to the
Tigers, who need a conflict to thrive and subjugate the general
population in the areas they dominate.
It would thus be wrong to think that the Government has
closed all doors to peace. As Minister Bogollagama pointed out,
the abrogation of the CFA does not mean that the facilitation
extended by the Norwegian Government to the Sri Lankan
Government also ends.
The Government should continue this healthy dialogue with
Norway, the Co-Chairs and especially India, which very recently
reiterated its commitment to Lanka’s sovereignty and territorial
The international community’s support will be vital as Sri
Lanka searches for peace. This does not mean that other
countries should be given a carte blanche right to interfere in
its affairs, via concepts such as R2P (Responsibility to
Protect) and a call to open a UN rights monitoring mission.
Indeed, the international community has a duty to help Sri
Lanka to wipe out terrorism. Several countries have already
taken steps in this regard. We reported yesterday that a top
LTTE operative in the US, charged with attempting to procure
arms for the LTTE, has been sentenced to jail. France too took
similar action some time back.
This is the type of concrete support that Sri lanka expects
from her global friends in the drive to eliminate terrorism.
Terrorism is not confined to one country or region. All of
today’s high-profile terrorist groups have wide international
networks. The LTTE is no exception. It runs fund raising and
arms procurement activities in many countries.
It circumvents proscriptions by operating through front
organisations which seemingly have no connection with the LTTE.
One of the most effective ways of curbing terrorist activities
is cutting off their funding. Several countries have taken steps
in this direction.
Given the geographic proximity, India’s stern actions against
terrorism will be beneficial to Sri Lanka. In this context, the
Indian Government must take seriously recent reports that the
LTTE is trying to establish base in Tamil Nadu again.
This will be a major threat to Tamil Nadu. It is heartening
to note that prominent Indian politicians have cautioned the
Central Government on these devious designs of the LTTE.
The LTTE, which is spreading its tentacles far and wide, has
not given any indication that it was ready for talks. Hence its
brazen attitude vis-a-vis the Ceasefire which was no bar for it
to launch attacks not only on the Security Forces but also on
The Government, on the other hand, waited patiently for a
number of years before launching any military action despite the
grave provocations of the LTTE. It will thus be a major victory
for the Government and the Forces if the military victories take
Sri Lanka towards an environment which fosters peace, unity and