Substantive gains for State
THE just-concluded, second round of
Government-LTTE talks in Geneva, could be considered as having recorded
some significant gains for the State and the people of Sri Lanka.
To begin with, both sides have reiterated their commitment to the
negotiatory process and this alone is a substantive gain for Sri Lanka.
For, the State and the majority of the people of the land completely
favour a negotiated settlement of our conflict.
No news would be more welcome for moderate opinion in Sri Lanka than
a pledge by the sides to perpetuate the peace process and the overall
result at Geneva II could be seen as being in accordance with the wishes
of the majority of Lankans.
As usual, however, the real intentions of the LTTE are very much in
doubt, because even as we pen this commentary, LTTE terror is being
inexorably unleashed in the North-East. Yet another case of LTTE
The international community, including the Co-Chairs, need to take
careful note of these disquieting developments because they have here
further evidence of who is scuttling the peace effort.
Surely, they cannot leave anything to chance when dealing with the
LTTE because of its legendary duplicity. Obviously, the world community
needs to hold a whip-hand over the Tigers if the negotiating effort is
to be perpetuated.
Getting back to Geneva II, Norwegian Minister for International
Development, Erik Solheim's pronouncement that a solution to Lanka's
conflict should be worked out on the basis of a single, sovereign and
undivided country, could be considered a singular triumph for the State
and the majority of the people of this country.
The clear message to the LTTE is that there are no significant takers
for its eelam agenda, save its few fanatical supporters.
Certainly, the world community is not for a division of Sri Lanka.
This is a huge boost for the Lankan State and the majority of Lankans,
who favour a political solution to our conflict, on the basis of a
single, united and undivided State.
If some sense remains with the LTTE, it would from now on cooperate
with the State in bringing about a just and honourable political
solution which would satisfy the legitimate aspirations of all our
It should see for itself that the path of violence it has opted for
would not garner even the slightest good for the Tamil people, whose
interests it is claiming to champion.
As for the State, it has taken up the most sensible of positions by
stating that its number one priority is the resolution of problems faced
by the Tamil community. If the Tamil grievances are at the heart of the
problem, then the sensible course to adopt would be to resolve the
issues faced by the Tamil people.
As explained by us a few days back in this commentary, if Tamil
grievances constitute the 'phenomenon', the LTTE is only the 'epi-phenomenon'
or a 'side-effect' of the main malaise.
Therefore, the endeavour of the State would be to redress the
legitimate grievances of the Tamil people. This would remedy the main
malaise and render ineffective the 'side-effect'.
This is the most advisable course to adopt because there is no
question of the State arriving at a deal with the LTTE which would
ignore the LTTE's repressive stranglehold over the Tamil people. This
would be no solution. It would only be the proverbial peace of the
However, what the State would be aiming at is a solution which would
ensure for all our communities, absolute self-respect and a bright
Towards a developed water resources management plan
THE policy development process in Sri Lanka has a
chequered past. In March 2000, National Water Resources Policy and
Institutional Arrangement was approved by the Cabinet. However,
public may remember how the water policy was made the red herring by
all successive governments, particularly during times of elections.
'We must stand on our own feet'
Up to the Mavil Aru confrontation, our
politicians were told by every Dick, Tom and Harry of the
international community, co-chairs, INGOs and NGOs that the LTTE was
an invincible force and has a well equipped and trained war machine
and that our Armed Forces could never defeat them at war!
Child abuse - an impediment to country's development
In Western countries, where their citizens enjoy
relatively high standards of living, the protection of children's
rights and welfare is given high priority. Unlike in many Third
World countries such as India, Thailand and Sri Lanka where child
abuse in varying forms is very common and the measures taken by the
State institutions to combat this menace is quite inadequate,