Interim body not the ISGA
By Frances Bulathsinghala
A single sentence in a Government statement - to
re-open direct negotiations with Tiger guerillas on an interim authority
and proceed to negotiate a final settlement of the ethnic conflict
- drew an angry warning from the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP).
Government's junior partner said it would quit the United People’s
Freedom Alliance (UPFA) if the pledge made in the statement was
carried out. The Sunday Times learnt the statement issued by the
Information Department originated from the Peace Secretariat. Its
Secretary General Jayantha Dhanapala was not available for comment.
deputy John Gooneratne answered questions put to him about the official
statements that has generated the political controversy.
there been a policy shift in the government's position with regard
to the LTTE's ISGA and was this reflected in any statements last
No, the position is very much the same. There is no such policy
you explain the phraseology in the government release issued on
23 February which states that the government was ready to re-open
direct negotiations with the LTTE on the establishment of an interim
release does not mention an Interim Self Governing Authority. What
is mentioned in the release circulated by the Government Information
Department is a re-iteration of the same position that the government
had always held. The phrase an interim authority has been mentioned
by the government before. The ISGA is the LTTE version of what would
be an interim authority.
you explain the sentence in the government statement that the government
would 'proceed thereafter to negotiating a final settlement ?
It is clear enough. The government was always keen on a permanent
settlement. There is no reference to the ISGA.
you explain the difference between the LTTE term Interim Self Governing
Authority and Interim Authority as meant by the government ?
It is difficult to do so at this point. The government has used
the term interim authority before in its attempted alternate proposals
to the LTTE's ISGA, the agenda of which was not finalised. The term
interim authority is used by the government because it is a general
any document been sent to the LTTE by the government as an alternative
to the ISGA ?
To my recollection, no.
there been any LTTE reaction received by the Government Peace Secretariat
after the release of the government statement ?
has there not been a response from the Peace Secretariat regarding
the statement which the JVP considered as serious as leaving the
government for ?
No response is needed. Various people are interpreting the issue
their own way. As far as we are concerned this is not an issue worth
releasing a statement. There are various people who get this term
mixed up with the ISGA.
you explain the present position with regard to the government setting
up a mechanism to work with the LTTE towards humanitarian issues
concerning the tsunami aftermath ?
Issues relating to this are being finalised and the government will
go ahead with the plan.
there been any notable outcome with regard to the peace process
following the visit of the Norwegian peace facilitator Erik Solheim?
We would be able to comment only when the visit is concluded by