ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Vol. 41 - No 22

What the Govt. said     What the LTTE said

The head of the Government’s delegation to peace talks in Geneva Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said yesterday that the Government extends the hand of friendship to the LTTE and invites them to renounce the path of violence, enter the democratic process and join the political mainstream and help the long-suffering people of the country, belonging to all ethnic groups, to end their misery and enable them to live fulfilling lives.

The Minister’s remarks came during the opening speech he made on the first day of the two day meeting between the two sides, the first since February this year.

Mr. Silva said President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said clearly that he will go the extra mile in search of peace – a dignified and honourable peace, where a Sri Lankan model of devolution will be devised for an undivided country to address the root causes of this conflict. The Minister also emphasized that the LTTE should not consider the Government’s commitment to the peace process as a sign of weakness – but as a reflection of its strong commitment and belief in peace for all the people in Sri Lanka and in particular for the people in the North and East.

The Minister also suggested certain measures to be taken to normalize the situation in the context of the peace process:
He said firstly, political parties should be given free access to all parts of Sri Lanka, including the uncleared areas.

Second, democratic institutions should be allowed to function freely and without interference. This includes all offices of the Government of Sri Lanka, including its judicial and law enforcement institutions.

Third, a single mechanism of law and order should be able to function throughout the country, in order to effectively enforce laws and prosecute criminals. This requires providing access to the Police personnel to certain areas, which are currently denied to them, such as the districts of Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi.

Fourth the groundwork for full democratization of the North and East must be laid. All levels of society, from political leaders to students, could be involved in a process of exploration and discussion, the concept of free expression, on the substantive issues surrounding democracy, including issues of devolution and power-sharing.

The Minister also said the government acknowledges that the human rights situation in the South needs improvement in certain respects and all measures are being implemented to achieve this.

He said a firm commitment exists in ensuring that the language policy is properly implemented.

The Minister also referred to the Iranamadu airstrip and said that the Government now possess very clear evidence that the LTTE is continuing to improve and expand an illegal and clandestine airstrip in Iranamadu and construct two other airstrips in Mullativu. The Government hopes that these talks will be the beginning of a productive dialogue and a fruitful exchange of views with all persons concerned on the many substantive issues relating to this conflict.


Head of the LTTE delegation S.P.Thamilselvan yesterday urged the international community, the Co-Chairs and the Norwegian facilitators to act to ensure one hundred percent the implementation of the CFA and strengthening the role of the SLMM.

Excerpts of the speech made at the opening of the peace talks in Geneva follows;

Respecting the call by the Co-chairs, we have come here to yet again demonstrate our commitment for a just peace in the island.

Six sessions of direct talks were held during which many proposals were made to bring normalcy to the lives of the people in the war torn Tamil homeland. In order to enable the fruits of the CFA reach our people, we asked for an interim administration.

In 2005 Mahinda Rajapaksa, portraying himself as a pragmatist, became President. At the beginning of 2006, President Rajapaksa agreed to hold talks about the implementation of the CFA.

At the Geneva talks, we published the uncontestable and ample evidence of paramilitary and army collaboration which was pushing the island away from the CFA.

Geneva talks ended with the agreement that the CFA must be implemented fully in order to take forward the peace process. For the sake of our people, we expected from the GoSL, sincere implementation of the CFA.

Sadly, none of the agreements reached in Geneva were implemented by the GoSL.

On the contrary, the conduct of the GoSL continued to worsen the situation in the Tamil homeland pushing us and the Tamil people to extreme frustration.

The EU ban on the LTTE arising from persistent pressure from the GoSL has allowed the GoSL and its armed forces to commit such acts with impunity.

With the Geneva agreements unimplemented the Norwegian facilitators invited us to Oslo for a discussion about the work of the SLMM. In Oslo, direct talks with the GoSL delegation was made impossible because of the down graded composition of the delegation and in view of all agreements reached during all the previous direct talks remaining unimplemented.

We persisted with our request to reopen the A9 route in view of the civilian misery caused by the closure and assured our full cooperation.

The killing, disappearance, abduction and displacement of civilians by the Sri Lankan military are continuing while an internationally backed CFA is in force. Since Geneva I talks the Sri Lankan military, using the paramilitary as cover, has killed 870 civilians and has caused disappearances of 408 civilians.

Among them 98 are children. The closure of the A9 route and the resulting near starvation are cruel and deliberate actions.

The best we can hope for from the current talks is therefore, the strengthening of the CFA agreement that has the potential to lead to a permanent, just peace in this island. This CFA has the unique distinction of lessening the threat of resumption of the three decades long war.

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Copyright 2006 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.