‘Hawker Street’ for foreign experts: Kadir
Presidential Advisor and former foreign Minister Lakshsman Kadirgamar
charged in parliament that the ceasefire agreement had eroded the
sovereignty of the country to the point where it was in danger of
being reduced to a sovereign shell. In his address Mr. Kadirgamar
took the government to task for signing a structurally flawed ceasefire
agreement with the LTTE without first consulting President Chandrika
debate for the Opposition on a special statement made by Prime Minister
Ranil Wickremesinghe, Mr. Kadirgamar said the Opposition also had
no confidence in the competence and the impartiality of the Sri
Lanka Monitoring Mission. He said that the powers and functions
which the ceasefire agreement vested in the Norwegian government
travel beyond the role of a facilitator.
the first time in the history of post independent Sri Lanka that
a foreign government has been authorized to draw demarcation lines
on the soil of Sri Lanka", Mr. Kadirgamar said.
He also hit
out at the SLMM for proposing that the Sea Tigers be recognized
as a de facto naval unit. Hitting hard at the government for seeking
advice of foreign experts, Mr. Kadirgamar said, " Sri Lanka
has become a carnival ground for international players, a sort of
hawkers street for foreign experts peddling their wares."
Mr. Kadirgamar said:
2002 I had the privilege of opening the debate for the Opposition
on the Prime Minister's policy statement. On that occasion I said
that the Opposition would do nothing to disturb the peace process
that was just being resumed. The new Government must have time to
settle in. We have kept that pledge. Our contention is that from
the very signing of the Ceasefire Agreement on February 22, 2002
the sovereignty of Sri Lanka has been steadily and visibly eroded
to the point where Sri Lanka is in danger of being reduced to a
nominal sovereign State.
Soon Sri Lanka
will be a sovereign shell, the major attributes of a sovereign State
- the capacity to govern, to resolve justifiable issues, to enforce
the law, to protect its citizens throughout the entirety of its
territory are being drained away by stealth, fractured by assault
and worn down by attrition. The process commenced, with, and is
being facilitated by, the Ceasefire Agreement by itself, a structurally
flawed document whose imperfections have now been clearly revealed
and are being deeply felt, as the weeks and months go by.
a few days of the signing of the CFA the President outlined in a
letter to the Prime Minister some of the flaws of the Agreement.
They were as follows: The question of naval operations. Article
1.2 of the CFA itemises a number of prohibited military operations,
including offensive naval operations". Article 1.3 graciously
permits the Sri Lanka Armed Forces to continue "to perform
their legitimate task of safeguarding the sovereignty and territorial
integrity of Sri Lanka without engaging in offensive naval operations".
How is the Navy to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity
of Sri Lanka if it is prohibited from engaging in offensive operations
against the LTTE if required?
Article 3.2 of the CFA if a dispute arises on a question involving
the interception of illegal arms it will be the Head of the Monitoring
Mission, a foreign national, who will be the "the final authority
regarding interpretation of the Agreement". Thus, the jurisdiction
of the Courts of Sri Lanka has been ousted on a question so vital
to national security and the protection of the territorial integrity
and sovereignty of Sri Lanka.
1.4, 1.5 and 1.6 of the CFA deal with the "drawing up of demarcation
lines regarding defense localities in all areas of contention".
The parties are required to provide information to the Monitoring
Mission about their defense localities. In the event of disagreement
between the parties the demarcation lines will have to be drawn
by the Head of the Monitoring Mission who is "the final authority
regarding interpretation of this Agreement". Article 2.7 refers
to the establishment of the checkpoints to facilitate the flow of
goods, and the movement of civilians on the "lines of control".
of control" is a highly evocative expression in our region
and elsewhere in the world where lines of control and demarcation
have been source of confusion, bitterness and tragedy. Inevitably,
the line of control becomes a line of division, of separation.
and function which by this Agreement are vested in the Norwegian
Government travel far beyond the role of a facilitator of the envisaged
negotiations towards a political agreement. The nature of the Norwegian
Government's mandate has changed to such an extent; its role has
become so inflated, as to make it incompatible with the sovereign
status of Sri Lanka.
light of the verified evidence coming in from various LTTE controlled
areas, especially in the East, relating to extortion, intimidation,
abduction and harassment of civilians, much of it against members
of the Muslim community but extending also to the Tamil and Sinhalese
communities in these areas, we surely have to ensure that our people
are protected by the strict application of Article 2.1 of the CFA
which expressly prohibits such acts.
freedom of movement for "political work" in Government-controlled
areas in the North and the East granted to LTTE members under Article
1.13 is not afforded to others (political parties, for instance)
who might wish to do "political work" in LTTE-controlled
areas in the North and the East. Democratic parties like the EPDP,
which entered the mainstream of national politics many years ago
now find themselves at a considerable disadvantage in relation to
the LTTE. Disarmed by the CFA they are at the mercy of the LTTE.
erosion of sovereignty to which I have referred must also be viewed
against the backdrop of the significant omission in the Agreement
of any reference to any assurance given that negotiations for a
political settlement will be commenced by the parties by a fixed
date and concluded by an agreed date. In his statement to the House
in January 2002 the Prime Minister said: "After formalising
the basic agreement as regards peace talks, the talks should be
held within a definite timeframe between the Government and the
LTTE". Nearly fifteen months have passed. Where is the timeframe?
It is nowhere in sight.
issue of the day is the question of the sea. In its so called initial
discussion paper the Head of the Nordic Monitoring Mission made
a series of proposals which the Opposition parties, in their press
release of 25th April, have described as "preposterous".
One of them was that "in the spirit of the CFA the government
of Sri Lanka, and especially its Navy, should recognise the LTTE
Sea Tigers as a de facto naval unit". Another was that "the
LTTE should be excluded from the law concerning limitations on the
horse power of outboard motors". Yet another was that "the
Sri Lanka Navy and the LTTE Sea Tigers should have specific marked
exercise and training areas at sea, designed for navigation training
and for live fire exercises as well".
proposals can be faulted on a number of grounds: Is it "in
the spirit of the CFA" that the LTTE should systematically
smuggle arms into the country? If not, why should it be "in
the spirit of the CFA" that the Navy should recognise the LTTE
as a de facto naval unit?
problem is that the government of the day is by its conduct, by
its palpable anxiety to accommodate even the most unreasonable demands
of the LTTE, encouraging the LTTE to believe that it is a legal
entity with legal rights.
if the exercise and live firing areas are within our territorial
waters, live firing will create serious practical problems. Indian
fishing boats habitually enter our territorial waters in large numbers.
What would happen if they enter the LTTE zone during the live firing
practice? We allow India to use our airspace above our territorial
waters. When LTTE live firing is going on are we to tell the Indian
government that our airspace will be closed to them? Would this
be an unfriendly, hostile act towards the neighbour that has proscribed
the CFA was entered into the LTTE was limited to outboard motors
of 40-horse power maximum. The Nordic proposal is that they be allowed
the use of outboard motors of unlimited capacity. This will allow
the LTTE legitimately to acquire inshore craft, which are used by
blue water navies.
end of peace talks some day, even if Federal status is given to
the North and East, there will be only one Navy and that is the
Sri Lanka Navy. Therefore, excluding the Sea Tigers from the normal
law of the country is unacceptable and out of the question.
has already stated, and now repeats, that it has no confidence in
the competence and impartiality of the Monitoring Mission. The Opposition
proposes that the Monitoring Mission should be re composed.
major security question of the day - the High Security Zones. The
LTTE wants the Army to withdraw from these zones to accommodate
Internally Displaced Persons (IDP's). Security can be relaxed only
in stages i.e. disarming of LTTE cadres and decommissioning of LTTE
has hired the services of a retired Indian General, Gen. Nambiar
to advise it on security matters. In its report of last December
he has said that "SLA Commanders in the field as also at headquarters,
appear to be unanimous in the firm conviction that if civilians
are allowed unrestricted re-entry in these areas, LTTE cadres would
infiltrate, establish their control even if only covertly in the
initial stages, and seriously compromise the ability of the SLA
to conduct operations should the peace process break down.
Gen. Nambiar has proposed "as things stand it would appear
that any review of the scope and the content of the High Security
Zone will only come about if the LTTE deposits its weapons for neutral
supervision and initiates measures to withdraw from frontline positions
into nominated areas.
mysterious reason the Government Commissioned Gen. Nambiar to prepare
a second report even before the first report had been discussed
with the relevant security authorities. I understand that the second
report is ready. Between the two reports Gen. Nambiar has been visited
more than once by important Government personalities.
has become a carnival ground for international players, a sort of
Hawkers Street for foreign experts peddling their wares. Do we really
need foreign experts to advice us on how to protect the territorial
integrity and sovereignty of the State? Surely, our own Service
Commander, native to our soil, knows best what needs to be done.
Minister in his statement referred to a "safety-net of the
international community". and "a firm expression of views
by our friendly countries including the United States, UK, Japan,
France and India". They have with the United States and India,
in particular made strong statements in support of our territorial
integrity and sovereignty.
meantime, the opposition is of the view that we are moving inexorably
towards the day when Sri Lanka will no longer be a sovereign state".
Join PM in his peace endeavour says
Replying to the former Foreign Minister Lakshaman Kadirgama's speech
in parliament the Leader of the House W. J. Lokubandara said that
Mr. Laksman Kadirgamar who was Sri Lanka's former Foreign Minister
during his speech criticised the current peace process having forgotten
the agreement entered into by President Chandrika Kumaratunga and
the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran in 1995.
Mr. Lokubandara said that though the government had great respect
for Mr. Kadirgamar he failed to refer to the facts in the agreement
between the then Peoples Alliance government and the LTTE.
of your calibre should make responsible speeches. Don't you really
want to solve this prolonged conflict? I must mention that Prime
Minister Wickremesinghe has always been committed to resolve this
conflict. When I listened to Anura Bandaranaike's speech, I remembered
how he spoke against the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in 1988.
At that time, he together with JVP wanted to send Indian troops
back home. But today he is speaking for India and stressing the
need of Indian intervention in settling this problem" he said.
of the House said that the JVP never had a feeling for peace. "A
number of times they were responsible for the bloodbaths in the
country. I wonder how a party like the SLFP which now has people
like Lakshaman Kadirgamar could join hands with the JVP which introduced
violence and gun culture to Sri Lanka. The people of this country
have not forgotten the misdeeds of the JVP", Mr. Lokubandara
He said that the only reason the PA and the JVP asked for this debate
was with the idea of setting the country on fire. Mr. Lokubandara
said that they never wanted answers for the questions raised by
the boycott ploy of the PA and the JVP he said "Today they
also went away". Concluding his speech the leader of the House,
Mr. Lokubandara said he stressed the need for everyone to extend
their cooperation and assistance to the Prime Minister in his genuine
endeavour to bring lasting peace and harmony to Sri Lanka.
Lanka’s sovereignty must be upheld: Wimal Weerawansa
Addressing parliament last week in his response to the Premier's
statement Wimal Weerawansa said the people in this country would
have bee disappointed having listened to the PM's statement.
said the Premier never clarified the important issues that have
arisen in the country at the present time like the Sea Tiger issue,
Muttur clashes and the killing of the army informants.
was important according to him is that there is no question of going
back to war. How can he say this? Does this mean that he has given
a pledge to the LTTE that he will fulfill all their demands? What
is the LTTE smuggling weapons and conscripting children if not to
return to war?", Wimal Weerawansa asked in parliament.
In his address
to parliament he said: "As Parliament was in recess from April
1st till 6th May, we wanted an emergency session summoned in between
so that we could discuss the several important developments that
took place in the country during this period. But the government
did not allow this. However, as a result of this the Prime Minister
decided to make a statement to parliament. When people heard the
Primer was making a statement, they expected to hear a clear statement
on what is happening in the country. But he has not done so.
3rd, the Norwegians put forward a proposal for the sea tigers to
be recognized as a separate unit and give a separate sea enclave
for them for their training exercises. The issue of the removal
of the high security zones as well as the clashes in Muttur came
up at the same time. There was also the killing of army informants
as well as members of the EPDP. We expected him to cover all these
important issues but what happened? First he explained why the talks
were suspended and went on to whitewash the LTTE.
What he said
was the LTTE has merely suspended participation in the talks and
not withdrawn. What was important according to him is that there
is no question of going back to war. "How can he say this?
Does this mean that he has given a pledge to the LTTE that he will
fulfill all their demands? Why is the LTTE smuggling weapons and
conscripting children if not to return to war?
is most important for us is the country's sovereignty? This is more
important than any other thing including the love for our lives.
The most important battle is to maintain the soverignity of this
country. All other battles are less important for us. Any leader
who does not think this way is capable of anything.
are suicide bombers in this government as well. They are the ones
who are forced to speak here. When you go through the speakers list
you can see them. Only Mr.Hakeem is there from among the negotiators
but he is having enough problems of his own. Where is G.L.Peiris
and Milinda Moragoda? There must be in their rooms watching what
is going on here on their closed circuit TVs. I think the amount
they are spending on their foreign trips will soon surpass the country's
defense budget. The suicide cadres in the government have to fulfill
their obligations on behalf of their colleagues.
sea tiger's issue, the Prime Minister said the Sri Lanka Monitoring
Mission is addressing the issue. Of course we know they are addressing
the issue to fulfill the demands of the Tigers. What we wanted to
hear the Prime Minister say was not this. What he should have said
is that the government does not recognize the sea tigers and that
there is only one navy in this country, the Sri Lankan Navy. He
just slipped away from addressing this issue as well.
27 intelligence men were killed, the Prime Minister comes here and
says that he has asked the Police and the armed forces to take necessary
action to bring to justice the perpetrators of these crimes. I am
sure they will act soon now that most of the damage is done.
hardly addressed the problem of the Muslims. The LTTE is involved
in ethnic cleansing. They have warned that they will soon chase
the Sinhalese away from Kantalai and Serunuwara. Today those who
have to reply to these problems are none of those responsible for
are conducting the peace talks also with a war-like mentality. In
a war you trap the enemy and attack him. Even in the peace talks,
the LTTE has trapped the government and cornered them, so they agree
to all their demands.
of government negotiators will travel around the world and when
things go wrong they will flee the country. But the rest of the
people of this country have to live here. There are no talks here.
There is only a "dana", a betrayal by the government".
says Premier a leader without vision
Anura Bandaranaike speaking in parliament during the debate on the
statement made by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the statement
made by Mr. Wickremesinghe was a major non-event.
In his address
Mr. Bandaranaike said: "This is a major debate concerning the
security of the country. It is being held in the background of the
LTTE suspending its participation in the peace talks, the violent
incidents in Muttur, the killing of intelligence personnel by the
LTTE and the virtual recognition of the sea tigers as a separate
navy by the Norwegians. This government has chosen to avoid this
debate being the cowards that they are.
made by the Prime Minister of this country must be one of the biggest
non-events of his life. He merely avoided the debate. He should
have been here to wind up the debate. This Prime Minister merely
comes and goes like a jack in the box. Where is G.L.Peries, Milinda
Moragoda? What about the Deputy leader of the UNP Karu Jayasuriya?
They should be here today. Where are the frontbenchers today? They
have put the burden on Mr. Lokubandara, a good-hearted, deeply religious
man with no dirt on his hands.
the Prime Minister's bounden duty to be here. If he is unable to
be present at least G.L.Peiris or Milinda Moragoda who are taking
part in the negotiations should have been here. The Prime Minister's
statement was a mild attempt to cover up a volatile situation that
the government is placed in today. If I may quote Shakespeare from
Macbeath "A tale told by an idiot." I don't want to call
the Prime Minister an idiot, as he most certainly is not one. So
I will paraphrase it as "A tale told by a prime minister, under
siege, signifying nothing."
knows what they want and they know how to get it. They talked to
Prime Minister Premadasa and then killed him; they talked to my
sister President Chandrika Kumaratunga and almost killed her. No
other government has gone the distance that this government has.
You have caught the Tiger by the tail and you will be swallowed.
Many in your front benches are against what is happening but they
don't want to say anything, as they don't want to embarrass the
In every game
the end game is carefully crafted and for the LTTE the end game
is Eelam. You are aiding and abetting them in achieving this. Defense
Minister Thilak Marapona says there is only one navy. But can he
explain to the House how he is going to dismantle the Eelam navy?
You are talking of an international safety net. Where was the safety
net when the LTTE suspended its participation in the talks? Where
were they when ethnic cleansing was taking place in Muttur. Where
was this net when the LTTE was smuggling weapons and when they attacked
a Chinese trawler killing 15 Chinese nationals. Safety net is a
phrase you have put in to get out of a difficult situation.
is the federal system you are going to discuss with the LTTE? You
are talking of a Swiss model, a South African model and now a Ladakh
model. The problem lies in the Prime Minister's lack of vision.
We are not against devolution. Even the President has said that.
It is the government that has virtually handed over the north and
east to the LTTE. During the ceasefire, the LTTE has laid the foundation
for a de facto state. Its army has grown from 6,000 to 16,000. There
is massive smuggling of weapons. More than 20 Tamil army informants
have been killed.
say the Sunday Times is the only newspaper that has had the guts
to write the truth. The Prime Minister's media mafia has been influencing
the media not to write anything about the Norwegian proposal on
the sea tigers. No paper other than the Sunday Times has had the
courage to publish the story.
The story is
correct because no one has denied it so far. I must compliment the
Chairman of Wijeya Newspapers Ranjith Wijewardena for publishing
true and correct news items as a real newspaperman in an impartial
manner even though he is the uncle of the Prime Minister. I must
also commend Sinha Ratnatunga and Sunday Times Defence Correspondent
Iqbal Athas for having the courage to run this story.
First time in
the world there are two navies in one country, two armies and two
judicial systems. The Prime Minister's media mafia is stifling the
news so that the government can carry on.