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DateLine Thursday, 15 May 2008

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End to bogus CFAs

Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka's unequivocal statement that the Government would on no account have truces with the LTTE in the future is perhaps a final reiteration that the Government means business when it underlined its commitment to defeat the outfit militarily while evolving a political solution.

Addressing a function to distribute self employment assistance to mothers of soldiers who paid the Supreme Sacrifice under the Viru Mau Surakimu programme the Premier said "the Government's position is very clear on this and that is it will not have ceasefire agreements or truce pacts with the LTTE in the future".

The Premier of course has a lot to draw from past experiences of various Governments in this regard beginning from Thimpu to the last soiree in Geneva where it became very clear that the LTTE had paused only for a breather before resuming hostilities against the Government as events that followed were to prove such as the Mavilaru episode and the attack on Muttur.

Besides, by its inhuman brutal attacks on civilians like the recent bomb blast inside a passenger bus in Piliyandala the LTTE has all but sent a signal that it is not interested in any truce talks.

Past Governments had learnt at great cost the consequences of being lured into 'Peace Talks". The lull not only broke the stranglehold the Forces had on the Tigers who were in a tight corner militarily but also allowed the outfit to muster sufficient international support during truce periods so as to prevail on the Government rethink it's military option.

Obviously Prime Minister Wickramanayaka has taken full cognisance of these stratagems of the LTTE and is not prepared to play ball this time around.

Besides the country is in no mood to allow for a let up of the current military operation to regain the Wanni and it would not be pragmatic for the Government to think of any talks option at a time the masses have extended their unstinted support for President Mahinda Rajapaksa's political leadership of the war even enduring hardships brought about by the high cost of living.

Besides, the recapture of the East and the success in the political experiment in the Province have convinced the Government that a political solution to the protracted conflict is possible while the military thrust continues and that it will only be a matter of time that conditions in the East would be transposed in the North.

It is therefore doubly important that the APRC process is expedited so a final political solution is ready by the time the inevitable military success is achieved, to bring the North on par with the East.

Helping China, Myanmar

Television footage of the cataclysmic natural disasters in China and Myanmar would no doubt have stirred the hearts all Sri Lankans to contribute in whatever way to relieve the distress of the surviving victims as a gesture of solidarity with two of the country's best friends in the international arena.

It was only some days before Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar's Irawaddi delta that the country was preparing to dispatch a large consignment of rice to Sri Lanka despite the prevailing global shortage of this main staple of Asian countries. Similarly the massive earthquake in China which buried entire communities could not have come at a worse time when the country is gearing itself up for it's 'coming out' into the new world order through a mega Olympic spectacle.

China which has a close knit relationship with Sri Lanka was among the first of the nations to come to our assistance during the Tsunami tragedy and although we are not in a position to reciprocate in the same level or magnitude a collective spontaneous response to the plight of the victims would no doubt be appreciated by the Chinese people. Indeed, President Mahinda Rajapaksa who was in China only a few weeks ago reiterated the need to strengthen these lasting bonds of friendship.

A spontaneous response of course was seen when people flocked in their numbers to the many Centres that have been set up to collect relief assistance for the disaster victims of both countries.

It is heartening to note several Buddhist organisations and prominent Bhikkus coming to the forefront in this exercise in the context of our links with Myanmar based on Theravada Buddhism and similar cultural ties with China. We must be by their side in this hour of trial.

Rural Empowerment

Central theme of development:

The address by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Oxford Union on an invitation of the Oxford Union and the Sri Lankan Society of Oxford University on Monday.

Our development model as presented in my election manifesto, the Mahinda Chinthana, signifies the empowerment of the rural economy. The centre piece of this new strategy will be the development of modern infrastructure throughout the country to provide a basis for development of Agriculture, Industry, Construction, Tourism, SMEs and transport services that will bring about new opportunities to our people in the rural economy.

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Collapse of the unholy alliance of Ranil and Rauf

Wickremesinghe should know, particularly from his knowledge of the democratic practices observed by members of the pro-West IDU, that the standard rule is for all democratic leaders to resign when they fail to win the confidence of the people at the polls.

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