A flawed truce
It was just a matter of time.
The mounting incidents of violence by the LTTE left the
Government with no other alternative.
The recent incidents of carnage wrought by the LTTE in the
City may well have been the last straw, as indicated by the
Prime Minister when he announced the decision to the Cabinet.
In any event the Ceasefire Agreement existed only on paper.
The LTTE never really took any notice of it but it was only
after they attempted to assassinate the Army Commander that the
Government launched limited operations against the LTTE.
The Government also launched humanitarian missions in the
East to rescue the Tamil population from the grip of the LTTE.
Since then the CFA became a blurred document which existed
only in name as the both sides engaged in confrontations which
has now grown in intensity rendering the truce monitors to mere
From the suicide attack on the Navy outpost in Dambulla where
nearly 100 sailors were killed to Wednesday’s bomb attack at
Slave Island the bloody trail left by the LTTE is too numerous
to enumerate on and the Government cannot be faulted for what it
It is also no secret that the LTTE bolstered its weapons and
training capabilities during the Ceasefire.
It was plain to any observer that the Ceasefire Agreement
signed between then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the
LTTE leader was flawed from the very outset. Nay, it was
weighted very much in favour of the LTTE with the outfit being
ceded demarcated territory in Government controlled areas to
operate at will through so-called political offices.
This carte blanche was used by the Tigers to attack the
Security Forces. It also emboldened the LTTE to make inroads
into the Government’s security apparatus as was seen by the
killing of members of the Army’s Deep Penetration Unit. This
Millennium City fiasco is still fresh in the minds of the public
to warrant repetition.
The CFA also provided some light entertainment when the
members of the truce monitors who went to inspect an LTTE vessel
suspected to be carrying arms were asked to jump overboard,
before suicide cadres blew up the ship.
What was not amusing however was the killing of crack
intelligence operative Inspector Muthaliph who was probing deep
into LTTE hideouts in the City.
There will of course be those who will advocate the
continuance of the Ceasefire to keep the option for negotiations
alive. Already we see those NGOs and peace merchants tearing
their hairs bemoaning the dumping of the CFA.
But nary a whimper of protest was made by these worthies when
the LTTE was brazenly violating the Ceasefire Agreement going to
the extent committing large scale massacres of non combatants,
as in Kebethigollewa.
These elements will also no doubt take pains to point out to
the conditions in the CFA such as giving the other party 14 days
notice before withdrawal. But can a brutal terrorist
organisation which had committed the most heinous atrocities be
expected to reciprocate such niceties will be the question in
the mind of any independent observer.
The ‘peace doves’ may also advocate the retention of the CFA
as a formal document in order to keep the peace process alive.
The LTTE, they should recall had spurned the offer of peace on
many an occasion.
The last time was in Geneva when the LTTE delegation led by
the late S.P. Thamilselvan arrived at the venue only to withdraw
from the discussions on the flimsy pretext that the Government
delegation was not properly represented.
It has been dilatory tactics from the very inception of peace
talks from Bangkok to Geneva. It has been one way traffic all
along with the Government of the day bending backwards to
accommodate the LTTE which in turn was not amenable to
compromise, always taking a hardline stance as with the ISGA.
It is under President Rajapaksa that the LTTE found out the
hard way that its vile ambition could not be realised. Still,
the Government has reiterated that the doors are open to peace
talks even after withdrawing from the CFA. Such alternative
paths should be explored in the search for a negotiated
settlement to the conflict.
We don’t know the current status of the Government Peace
Secretariat which was born out of the CFA or if it would be
rendered defunct with the abrogation of the pact. However, a
similar structure or programme should be put in place for
working towards peace.