Rajapaksa offers 2-week de facto truce with LTTE | india | Hindustan Times
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Rajapaksa offers 2-week de facto truce with LTTE

india Updated: Jun 26, 2006 12:46 IST
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The Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa had this week proposed a two-week de facto ceasefire with the LTTE, to defuse the current tense situation when the formal Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) is in tatters and the country seems to be drifting towards open war.

Reports in the The Nation and The Sunday Leader said that the President had made this proposal to the LTTE on Tuesday, using the good offices of two well-known Tamil media persons, V Saravanapavan and N Vithiatharan.

According to The Sunday Leader the President said that he would see to it that the renegade LTTE leader Karuna did not attack the LTTE during the two-week ceasefire.

If this ceasefire was a success, he could even consider removal of the Karuna group from the Tamil-speaking North East, the paper quoted the President as saying.

But on being told about the President's offer, the LTTE leadership said that Rajapaksa's move was only a ploy to drive a wedge between the LTTE and the Norwegians.

Move to sideline Norway

"The Nation" and "The Sunday Leader" both commented that Rajapaksa's latest move indicated the President's lack of confidence in the Norwegian peace brokers. It was a move to sideline or jettison Norway.

President Rajapaksa has been a long-standing opponent of the Norwegian role in the peace process and has been wanting an Asian country to replace Norway as the peace facilitator.

He also believes in the efficacy of having direct talks between himself and the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.

He has been against the internationalisation of the ethnic conflict. He is keen to see that further internationalisation does not take place.

At this point of time, the Sri Lankan government is annoyed that the Norwegians should try to accommodate the LTTE's demand for the ouster of truce monitors from the European Union (EU).

Oslo's move is opposed on the grounds that any changes in the monitoring system can be brought about only bilaterally between the Sri Lankan and Norwegian governments as per the Status of Mission Agreement (SOMA) of February 2002.

"Please remember that there is an entity called the sovereign government of Sri Lanka. It cannot be sidelined," said the Secretary General of the government Peace Secretariat, Dr Palitha Kohona.

Move to mollify and rope in India

In an apparent bid to get closer to, and mollify, New Delhi, which is under pressure from Tamil Nadu to read the riot act to the Sri Lankan government, President Rajapaksa is toying with the idea of considering the Indian model of federalism as the solution to the ethnic problem.

In his view, all models, including the Indian model, should be considered for the formulation of a uniquely "Sri Lankan model" of devolution.

The only stumbling block in the way of exploring a federal model was the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), he said.

Rajapaksa's government depends for its survival in parliament on the 38 members the Sinhala nationalist JVP group.

Interestingly, some known anti-federalists are now softening.

HL de Silva, Rajapaksa's constitutional advisor, and a known opponent of the federal model, has said in an interview to the state-owned "Sunday Observer" that the scheme of devolution he proposed recently, "approximated" to the Indian constitution.

De Silva said that moderate Tamil leader V Anandasangaree's suggestion that the government and the LTTE agree to the Indian model was a "useful avenue of exploration" and "needed careful consideration."

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