Miliband, Kouchner and Hillary Clinton - Fishing in troubled waters
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and France’s Foreign
Minister Bernard Kouchner having failed to persuade Sri Lanka for a
ceasefire had written an article to The Times of London on April 30
calling Sri Lanka’s role as, ‘Victory without humanity can be no
Sri Lanka having endured the bitter consequences of fighting for
nearly a quarter of a century with the world’s most lethal terrorists
and when the Army is hoping to finish off, a European delegation
consisting of Miliband and Kouchner arrived calling for a ceasefire.
They said they were backed by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
as well. Last week there was an outcry against her for her controversial
statement that, ‘the failure to protect civilians in Sri Lanka is truly
They pressured the Government to end the offensive against the
terrorists. The irony is that when the war is nearly ending and the
tigers are on the run and besieged Miliband says, “... Now is the time
to end the fighting...” Obviously, the trio had thought that Sri Lanka
was under their thumbs and they little realized that on the Government
side there were men of ‘steel’ (The Defence Secretary and the Army
Commander) who had survived suicide bomb attacks.
The Government had politely declined saying that there was no need
for a ceasefire as the military actions were now on a ‘Humanitarian
From what had transpired it had now become obvious that Miliband’s
and Kouchner’s talks were tilted in favour of the LTTE. This is
confirmed from the article written to (a) The Times of London and the
letter written to (b) Subramaniam who was on a hunger strike and who
ended the fast after Miliband’s letter.
In Miliband’s article to the Times of London he had highlighted the
need for a ceasefire. Here are some proposals:
(a) The Sri Lankan Government to set up a ceasefire in place,
preferably under UN auspices
(b) UN to send a Mission into the conflict zone to help to assess and
address civilian needs
(c) To allow the UN, aid and international agencies and the media
access to the conflict zone and so on.
Sri Lanka is at war and any agencies or media personnel allowed into
the war zone could run the risk of being taken hostage and thus make the
current situation more complicated.
In the letter to Subramaniam who was on hunger strike, Miliband had
explained, “... the strenuous efforts the British Government is making
to secure a ceasefire...”
The five conditions S. made were:
(a) An immediate and a permanent ceasefire
(b) A reversal of the UK’s decision to classify the Tigers as a
(c) A UN backed Referendum on an independent Tamil State in Sri Lanka
(d) Provision of medical aid and other facilities to the civilians in
the war zone.
Considering the above, it is not surprising that Miliband and
Kouchner made desperate attempts to push through a ceasefire. During the
press conference Kouchner had said, “...We tried very hard - We insisted
and insisted for a ceasefire...” In the same way why didn’t the
delegates pressurize the LTTE as well to release the civilians?
The UK, US and France mollycoddled the Tiger supporters most of whom
had come as refugees. Now that the war is coming to an end and as they
want the war on, these pro-Tiger lobbyists not only go on demonstrations
but also disrupt the peace by throwing missiles, blocking roads and
breaking into Embassy properties.
By doing these they pressurise these countries to persuade Sri Lanka
for a ceasefire. So for the West getting around the problem of pro-LTTE
demonstrations is to call for a truce, despite repeated truces in the
past running aground, thereby give a life line to the terrorists at Sri
From the recent episode it appears that the delegates of the team had
veered towards the terrorists. At one stage, the UK and US even proposed
safe passage to the LTTE leaders as a way of ending the conflict. Why
don’t the UK and US do the same in Afghanistan and Iraq? It is because
of these dual policies of the West that they had lost their credibility.
So it is no wonder that countries like North Korea and Iran do not wish
to be on their beck and call.