Peace Council will exacerbate contradictions- paper

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 06 October 2004, 11:04 GMT]
"Sri Lanka President Ms Kumaratunge's tactic to show that the peace process is being continued, while avoiding talks with the LTTE will only exacerbate contradictions among the southern political parties and will not create consensus," said Thinakkural, a popular Tamil daily published in Colombo in its editorial today.

"Ms Kumaratunge said she wouldn't change her decision to establish the National Advisory Council on Peace and Reconciliation (NACPR), whatever stance the Opposition partis would adopt. But the qustion remains as to how the NACPR could take crucial decisions without the participation of the main Opposition party as well as the parties representing the minorities," asked the paper's editorial.

"In her address inaugurating NACPR, Ms Kumarataunge stated that there would be separate, prioritised talks with the LTTE, while the deliberations of the NACPR will proceed as a parallel exercise. She is not unmindful of the risks inherent in parallel talks being conducted on the same subject with two different parties. Nevertheless, given domestic political pressure as well as internatinal compulsions, the President finds herself compelled to adopt this approach.

"It augurs well for the peace process that the Sri Lanka Government has identified the LTTE as the main player, and the President has stated that it is through discussions with the LTTE that the problem would be resolved.

"The President has correctly identified the path that would lead to a solution, but the question is whether the parallel talks strategy is to create consensus among the southern parties or to conceal the contradictions that prevail between the partners of the government," the paper questioned.

This is what has been pointed out by the UNP, the main Opposition party. The TNA has also not accepted the parallel talks approach. Charging that the President has gone back on the undertaking given to them to start talks based on the LTTE's ISGA proposals, the TNA has boycotted the NACPR, the paper said.

On the other hand, SLMC has not taken a firm stand on this question, disclosing that they have abstained from participating in the inaugural session merely because they did not get an opportunity of meeting Ms Kumaratunge, implying that SLMC may participate in the future.

The CWC has justified its participation saying that they would support every step that would be taken to bring peace to Sri Lanka. The CWC has stressed that their late leader, Saumiyamoorthy Thondaman, had advocated granting interim administration to the LTTE for 10 years. While the CWC claims to stand by that position, it is participating in an exercise that avoids talks on the interim administration, the paper said questioning the credibility of CWC's stand.

The JVP, main partner of the government, has clearly stated its position "this government has no authority to discuss the question of an interim administration and it is on such a condition that the UPFA was formed" clarified JVP propaganda secretary, Wimal Weerawansa, the paper pointed out.

"And thus it is not difficult to comprehend that the President's tactic is to show that the peace processes are being continued, while avoiding talks with the LTTE. This act of political expediency will only exacerbate contradictions among the southern parties rather than create consensus," the editorial concluded.


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