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Government Gazette

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 passive observers.

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 did.

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.

What will 2008 bring?

INTERNATIONALLY SPEAKING, we have been largely self-centred agenda-pushers over the past year. We have not hesitated to do away with those who offer a philosophy that is distasteful to us and thereby interfere with our political or religious beliefs.

Full Story

Decisive phase in path towards eradicating terrorism, achieving peace

Govt takes bold stand on withdrawing from Ceasefire which Tigers openly violated thousands of times:

THE DAWN OF 2008, brought the country into a decisive phase in its three decades long efforts to see an end to LTTE terrorism. The common masses of the country witnessed the bloody face of the conflict as they were about to breath fresh air in 2008 with renewed hopes as the news about the assassination of UNP Colombo District Parliamentarian T. Maheshwaran hit the country.

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