2nd Lead (Adds photos)

Rajapakse rejects Tamil Homeland, Right to Self determination

[TamilNet, Friday, 25 November 2005, 11:44 GMT]
Rejecting the Tamil demand of right to self determination and the concept of traditional Tamil homeland, Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse in his first address to the Parliament in Colombo Friday avoided reference to Norwegian facilitation and reiterated his hardline stand outlined in the "Mahinda Thinking" election manifesto prepared following his agreement with extreme Sinhala nationalist JVP and JHU. Nullifying the P-TOMS agreement, he said he would replace it with "Jaya Lanka" (Victory to Lanka) tsunami reconstruction programme. His "new peace process" would aim to have direct talks with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), he said.

Parliament Opening
Parliament Opening
Rajapakse delivering policy speech
Parliament Opening
Sri Lankan President entering the chamber of Parliament Friday
Parliament Opening
Speaker welcoming the President
Parliament Opening
Girls sing blessing songs
Parliament Opening
Parliament speaker V.J.M. Lokubandara offers flowers to Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse and his wife
Parliament Opening
Parliament Opening
Parliament Opening
Parliament Opening
Mr Rajapakse said: "Instead of traditional homelands and self-determination that allow an ethnic group to breakaway from the Republic of Sri Lanka, steps will be taken to ensure for all communities, including Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim Burgher and Malay the freedom to exercise all the rights enshrined in the constitution, including the right to live in any part of Sri Lanka on the grounds that the entire territory is the homeland of all communities."

Excerpts from his speech follow:

"My government will give the highest priority to launch a new peace process to usher in a lasting peace through a political solution to the country national question. Our method is discussion instead of war. We are aware that such discussion is not simple and easy. Yet it is the only way to peace. I wish to state here that my government is ready to have direct talks with the liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam.

"The political solution to a lasting peace should be based on a consensus reached through discussions among all parties linked to the problem and it should receive the approval of majority of the people of this country. Our policy for reaching such a consensus is as follows.

"In order to realize a lasting peace by solving the national crisis we propose to build a new social democratic state that upholds political pluralism that upholds the aspirations and rights of all sections of our society. Based on that principal we will pursue the following policy to reach a national consensus for peace with dignity.

"The current ceasefire Agreement will be revised to ensure the protection of human rights, prevent recruitment of children for war, safeguard national security, prevent terrorist acts, pave the way to rebuild lives that were shattered by war and the tsunami in the Northern and Eastern Provinces and introduce an open and transparent ceasefire monitoring machinery.

"The failure of the United Front Government's peace efforts was the result of the peace process talks being confined only to the government and the LTTE. Instead of such an unsuccessful bipartisan approach there will be e new peace process in which all parties involved in the crisis can participate.

  1. An open and sincere invitation will be given to the country‚s main opposition to participate in such a process.

  2. Special attention will be paid ensure Muslim people‚s representation in peace talks.

  3. The peace process will be continued openly and transparently to reach a broad consensus within a definite time frame.

  4. The facilitation and mediation extended by the United Nations and other such organisations that support peace in Sri Lanka, all friendly countries, the international community, India and other regional states will be properly organised and utilized to strengthen the peace process.


"Creation of a government infrastructure that will safe guard Sri Lankas sovereignty, territorial integrity, unitary nature of the state and the peoples national identity with the participation of all sections of our society as positive shareholders in a pluralistic system for the maximum devolution of power within an undivided sovereign democratic republic.

"Instead of the concepts of traditional homelands and self-determination that allow an ethnic group to breakaway from the republic of Sri Lanka, steps will be taken to ensure for all communities, including Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim Burgher and Malay the freedom to exercise all the rights enshrined in the constitution-including the right to live in any part of Sri Lanka on the grounds that the entire territory is the homeland of all communities.

"A new tsunami reconstruction administrative infrastructure that will coordinate with the Central Government, provincial councils, pradeshiya sabhas, political parties and voluntary organisations will be introduced in place of the controversial P-TOMS which are now before the courts. This new setup will be linked to "Jaya Lanka." The government's overall tsunami reconstruction and rehabilitation program.

"New projects will be introduced in the North and East to accelerate the rehabilitation and reconstruction in two provinces. A new authority named Jathika Saviya will be setup to resettle with no discrimination all people displaced by war in their hometowns and ensure for them a livelihood."

 

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