'LTTE using truce to legitimise gains'
Sinhala nationalist party JVP says LTTE will not break truce as it is gaining a lot from it, reports PK Balachandranindia Updated: Apr 05, 2006 19:03 IST
The Sinhala nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) says that the LTTE is in the peace process not to solve the ethnic question, but to get international legitimacy for its control over parts of Sri Lanka in the North and East.
In an interview to Daily Mirror on Wednesday, the JVP's chief spokesman Wimal Weerawansa said the LTTE would not break the ceasefire because it was gaining a lot from the ceasefire.
Over a period of time, it would claim that it was governing certain areas for a long time and seek legitimacy from the international community for it, Weerawansa said.
"The LTTE benefited immensely from the CFA (Cease Fire Agreement). They will not move out of it. Their gains from the CFA surpasses anything that they have got in the history of this country."
"Even if they leave it, it will be after securing an agreement that would give them even more benefits."
"They will make sure that they complete at least five years under the CFA, thereby showing the world that they have had their own governance for so long and pressure the international community to give legitimacy," Weerawansa said.
The LTTE was talking to President Mahinda Rajapaksa only to buy time, he said.
Threats by the LTTE to walk out of the peace process and resume war were not to be taken seriously. They were only a ploy to get the government to submit to their demands, he said.
Norway must be ousted
Weerawansa said that despite the colourless performance of the JVP in the March 30 local bodies elections, the party would press for the ouster of Norway from the position of peace facilitator.
The JVP leader said that the Norwegians were actually "LTTE's facilitators" who had given legitimacy to the LTTE through the peace talks process.
During the last Geneva talks, the LTTE delegation was treated as a state delegation, and after the talks, they were taken to weapons manufacturing factories in Norway, Weerawansa charged.
"The brochures of the military equipment that were with the LTTE when they returned were those of a Norwegian kind," he said.
Weerawansa recalled that the Norwegian chief facilitator Erik Solheim had told the Indian media that the Tamil people were harassed by the Sri Lankan army into fleeing to India, and asked: "Where did this happen?"
The Norwegians had no right to speak like this about one party to the peace process, he said.
"So we stand by our position that they cannot be kept as facilitators," he said.
The JVP leader further said that his party would continue to press the Rajapaksa government to amend the CFA and review the Norwegian role, as stipulated in the agreement President Rajapaksa and the JVP had had prior to the November 2005 Presidential election.
Weerawansa warned that if Rajapaksa deviated from the "Mahinda Chinthanaya", the common manifesto put forward during the Presidential election, the JVP would withdraw support to his government.
Rajapaksa can't do without JVP
Rajapaksa cannot take the JVP's threat lightly because his United Peoples' Freedom Alliance (UPFA) is still short of members in parliament.
The UPFA is dependent on the 39 MPs of the JVP to remain in power.
Norwegians in Colombo
It is significant that Weerawansa should give such a hard hitting interview at a time when Erik Solheim and the new de facto facilitator, Jon Hanssen Bauer, are in Sri Lanka to discuss the peace process with President Rajapaksa and the LTTE leaders.