Speedy implementation of APRC proposals
The Government is committed to implement the political proposals that
will be submitted by the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) as
soon as possible, President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared yesterday.
"It is up to the APRC to deliver it. I will act on the report as soon
as I get it. I will persuade all parties to implement it. But it has to
be practical and acceptable to all," President Rajapaksa told editors
and senior media personnel at Temple Trees.
"The proposals are not for terrorists. These proposals are for the
Tamils, Muslims and indeed Sinhalese - they too cannot be left out of
the solution. We will address their grievances. We have to work
"We have to go for a political solution. But there will be no room
for terrorism. These are two different things. I don't believe in a
military solution." "Terrorism is terrorism. There are no good
terrorists or bad terrorists. They want us to negotiate with the LTTE,
but if it is al-Queda, it's a different story."
He said the Security Forces would continue to retaliate if they are
hit and also strive to protect the South. The LTTE and certain other
elements wanted to bring down the Forces to Colombo from the North-East.
Towards this end, there could be incidents in Colombo and elsewhere but
the Security Forces are geared to face such threats.
Other forces beside the LTTE could at work to create instability, as
evidenced by two minor blasts in Colombo.
Practical problems would be encountered while striving for a peaceful
solution, but once concrete proposals are on the table and if they are
viable, the parties currently out of the APRC would also inevitably have
to join in.
He stressed that there was no pressure on him or the Government to
deliver a solution. In his opinion, the 13th Amendment offered a basis
for a solution, but the Government would respect the majority decision
of the APRC, whatever it is. The 13th Amendment, though in the law, has
not been implemented and full powers have not been given to the
The problem up to now has been that no proposals were allowed to be
implemented. They burned the regional council proposals and ditched all
other potential solutions. The LTTE was against every proposal.
"I cannot impose my own proposals. Nor can the SLFP. It will be a
collective effort, a democratic exercise."
He said the Government was keen to ensure that Northern and Eastern
people governed themselves. The local elections will be held in the
East, followed by Provincial Council elections. As for the North, it
will have to be cleared [of the LTTE] first. Then democracy can be
Regarding the international community, the President said any country
wishing peace in Sri Lanka "can join us".
As for the LTTE's pledge that they are prepared to uphold the CFA 100
per cent, the President said such statements cannot be trusted as they
had violated the CFA over 7,000 times. Many Tamil political leaders were
killed during the CFA period.
He dismissed claims that the LTTE was the sole representative of the
Tamil people. There are many other Tamil political parties, civil
society organisations and social organisations which act on behalf of
the Tamil people.
Responding to a question on various armed groups, he said only the
Forces and the Police are entitled to carry arms and all other groups
He reiterated the Government's commitment to human rights, noting
that Sri lanka was the only country in the world which appointed eminent
independent observers from foreign countries to oversee the rights
inquiries. The Government is bringing in a Witness Protection Act. There
has also been a drastic reduction in disappearances and abductions.
He described the FBI's recent assessment of the LTTE as the world's
deadliest terror group as an encouraging sign that the world is helping
Lanka to fight terrorism.