Thursday, 22 May 2003  
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Welcome reconciliatory measures

North-South, people-to-people bridge-building is likely to receive a tremendous boost as a result of LTTE efforts to go to the assistance of the flood-affected in Southern Sri Lanka. This fraternal gesture from the North could help to dispel some of the gloom which has descended on this country in the wake of the furious floods which have engulfed parts of Sri Lanka.

We notice that a number of Northern organisations have joined in this humanitarian effort of bringing relief to the flood-affected and to all of them the people's thanks are due.

These Northern - inspired flood relief operations are a measure of the degree of reconciliation which the peace process has established in Sri Lanka. While the negotiatory effort - to be sure-has run into some problems, the peace process, per se, could be said to be alive and well. The Northern organisations' willingness to help out in humanitarian relief operations for the flood-affected is one proof of this. This is also evidence that years of ruthless bloodletting have failed to extinguish the flame of humanity in the hearts of the people, although, admittedly, the people have suffered immensely as a result of the conflict, both physically and psychologically.

This fund of goodwill among the peoples of the land should be steadily built-up. Ideally, it should lead to consistent, reciprocal gestures of goodwill among the peoples of all parts of Sri Lanka. It is this durable, people-to-people basis which would ensure the continuance of the peace process, come what may.

The strengthening of fraternal ties among the communities of the country is bound to facilitate the process of national reconciliation, which will in turn, prevent a reversion to war and conflict. Fortunately, the country doesn't lack people-centred organisations which are diligently mobilizing sections of the people on the peace-path, although we are yet to get to the point where it could be pronounced that we are in possession of a national peace movement.

Meanwhile, we are also glad to note that reconciliatory efforts of a different kind are being exerted at the higher echelons of governance. As has been repeatedly observed, cohabitational governance between the President and the Cabinet led by the Prime Minister, is a wish of the people and we welcome Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's gesture of inviting the President to head the new Disaster Management Committee.

Such efforts at uniting in governance, were the implicit wish of the people when they voted the UNF into office. This mandate cannot be violated and it is up to the President and the Cabinet to find ways of peacefully co-existing, while carrying out the functions of governance effectively. Power struggles would amount to a violation of the popular will. This, those impatient for power, must realise.

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