GL refutes anti - Sri Lanka propaganda
The impression sought to be generated in some quarters that a war
against the Tamil people had been waged by the Government of Sri Lanka
is false and mischievous, Export Development and International Trade
Minister Professor G.L. Peiris, told a well-attended meeting of the
National Press Club in Tokyo recently.
Minister G.L. Peiris
"A considerable section of the legitimate Tamil political leadership
had been destroyed by the LTTE, and one of the urgent tasks of the
Government at present is to provide the space for the re-emergence of a
democratic leadership representing the Tamil people", he said.
Drawing a clear distinction between the Tamil people and the LTTE,
the Minister said that the military action assumed the character of a
humanitarian operation which served the purpose of enabling the Tamil
people, no less than all other sections of the Sri Lankan public, to
exercise their democratic rights and freedoms without fear or
Sri Lanka's Ambassador in Japan Jayantha Palipane accompanied the
Even as far as the LTTE was concerned, the Government had made every
effort to engage them in negotiation directed towards a political
During the first seven months after his election as President in
November 2005, President Mahinda Rajapaksa had sent two delegations to
Europe to talk to the LTTE, but this proved to be of no avail because
the LTTE showed no commitment, even at the basic level, to work with
sincerity towards a political objective. On one occasion, they refused
to come into the room where the Sri Lankan delegation was awaiting them.
It was only after the LTTE cut off water from the farmers of the
Eastern Province that the Government commenced military action to enable
the people to continue earning their livelihood. The charge of callous
disregard of the rights of the civilian population during the final
stages of the military action is untrue, Prof. Peiris said.
Another false charge, the Minister continued, is that the Government
has no interest anything other than the defeat of the LTTE.
Far from this being the case, the Government is now engaged in the
implementation of a multi-pronged humanitarian and economic strategy,
the Minister continued.
The first priority is to cater for the immediate needs of the
displaced people. Criticism that fails to take into account the
practical difficulties of looking after more than 250,000 people, is
both unfair and unrealistic, he pointed out. A determined effort is
being made by the Government, with the support of several countries to
provide food, accommodation and health and sanitation facilities.
It is necessary, however, to ensure that the LTTE does not infiltrate
the camps. The fact that the LTTE used suicide bombers to come with
refugees to Government areas, causing considerable destruction, makes
this a practical requirement.
Government attaches high priority to the resettlement of displaced
persons and the restoration of their livelihoods. Several Governments as
well as the private sector in Sri Lanka are involved in initiatives to
revive economic activity in such fields as agriculture, fisheries,
tourism and small and medium sector industry, Minister Peiris continued.
Responding to a question whether the Government would agree to an
international investigation, Prof. Peiris said that this was totally