rejects ISGC, insists on ISGA
By Chris Kamalendran
The LTTE has rejected a UPFA government offer of an Interim Self
Governing Council (ISGC) instead of an Interim Self Governing Authority
(ISGA). The offer, made by the government in a desperate bid to
resume the peace process, was conveyed during talks Norwegian Deputy
Foreign Minister Vidar Helgesen had in Kilinochchi last Monday with
LTTE Political Wing leader S.P. Thamilselvan.
Mr. Helgesen left for Kilinochchi, Peace Secretariat Chief Jayantha
Dhanapala is learnt to have verbally conveyed the offer of an ISGC.
The Sunday Times learns that the outlines of an ISGC are now being
formulated by government officials as a formal document. It is said
to be within the contours of a united Sri Lanka.
the LTTE has insisted it would not settle for anything less than
an ISGA. The LTTE's position was reiterated this week by its mouthpiece
in Parliament, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA). They told the
visiting US official Donald Camp, Deputy Assistant Secretary of
State for South Asian Affairs, on Friday that the LTTE wanted a
written undertaking that the government would give priority to the
ISGA at any new talks.
TNA delegation said the government's position should be given in
writing as different parties or factions were making different statements
on the position regarding the ISGA.
Paliamentarian Joseph Pararajasingham told The Sunday Times his
party also believed that the government's position should be given
in writing. He pointed out that during a meeting in May, President
Chandrika Kumaratunga had told the TNA she was agreeable for the
ISGA to be taken up first but two days later she had called for
parallel talks on the ISGA and the final political solution.
government's proposal for an ISGC instead of an ISGA comes in the
wake of a public campaign against the ISGA by the National Patriotic
Movement (NPM), in which the JVP is a strong voice.
official statement issued by the Presidential Secretariat following
the visit of the Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister early this week
said the President indicated to Mr. Helgesen that her Government
was willing and keen to start negotiations on 'an interim authority
within the framework of a united Sri Lanka' and to reach a durable
solution to the conflict.
spokesman Mangala Samaraweera declared the government was ready
for talks on the ISGA, JVP frontliners have warned the party might
be forced to pull out of the UPFA if the President agreed to the
LTTE's demand for the talks to be focused on the ISGA.
Helgesen told a news conference there was little or no progress
in the peace process and he was surprised at the complacency of
the public who should be helping to push forward the peace process.
Mr. Helgesen on Friday met LTTE theoretician Anton Balasingham in
London in a further bid to break the deadlock.