LTTE rejection of EU monitors ruse to skip talks - Kohona
COLOMBO: Secretary General of the Government Peace Secretariat Dr.
Palitha Kohona said that the LTTE's overt rejection of peace monitors
from EU countries was a mere eyewash in order to keep away from
participating in the Oslo talks.
In an interview with The Hindu the SCOOP Chief noted that although
recruits are from Scandinavian countries they function under Norwegian
Dr. Palitha Kohona
"It is simply like the UNICEF.The US has banned the LTTE. Does it
mean that the Head of UNICEF in Sri Lanka who is an American, is
unacceptable to the LTTE. We feel that this was an excuse for not
He also said the LTTE should also realise that violence is not the
way to achieve their political goals. The world has changed since the
1950s and 1960s. It no longer tolerates terrorism as an acceptable means
of achieving political objectives. On the LTTE's denial of violent acts
attributed to it while insisting the State was behind them Kohona
declared that the claim was hollow since all such acts fitted into a
pattern in the past.
"The LTTE is clearly behind all of them. You also have to remember
that they denied killing Rajiv Gandhi. Despite their denial, those
responsible including those who conspired have been sentenced by an
Indian court at the highest level".
Asked about a possible starting point for negotiations Dr. Kohona
said the starting point should ideally be the substantive issues.
Similarly, human rights, humanitarian and development issues could also
be the beginning."
All these could be the substance of the talks, but if the LTTE is not
willing to talk substance, we can talk about other issues, issues such
as the role of the SLMM, transporting eastern cadres to the north for
He said the government was willing to continue talking, whether it is
on substantive issues or on peripheral issues".
He said he hoped India would play a constructive role in the
resolution of the conflict. It could be the role of a close neighbour,
it could be the role of a friend who has been around for 2000-odd years.
Questioned on the President's election manifesto where it was, mentioned
about inclusive talks and a direct meeting with the LTTE.
Kohona said it was his view that any solution worked out without the
LTTE is not going to be practical at the end of the day and it was the
wish of the Government to encourage them to comeback to the talks.
"This country does not need any more violence. It needs the two
parties to sit down and workout a solution that is just and equitable".
Asked about retaliatory attacks on the LTTE 's Iranmadu Airstrip Dr.
Kohona said that the Government is obliged to comply with certain
international standards and rules and regulations. These do not permit
the existence of illegal airstrips.
It is in compliance with those international standards and rules that
the Government was compelled to take out this airstrip. He said the
Government has taken a number of steps to ensure that any refugee flow
does not head in the direction of India, but is contained in Sri Lanka.
He said the LTTE would like to create a flow of refugees to India
because it is politically advantageous to it.