SL wants rectification of anomalies in truce pact
The Govt has asked for rectification of some 'grave anomalies' in the CFA at the talks with LTTE, reports PK Balachandran.india Updated: Feb 23, 2006 12:41 IST
The Sri Lankan government has asked for the rectification of some "grave anomalies" in the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) at the talks with the LTTE, which began in Geneva on Wednesday.
The head of the Sri Lankan delegation, Nimal Sripala de Silva, said that the CFA entered into in February 2002, by the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, was "contrary" to the Sri Lankan constitution and "prejudicial" to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka.
"We propose to rectify certain grave anomalies arising from the agreement," he said.
But then he went on to assure that the Sri Lankan government was committed to observing the ceasefire.
"We acknowledge that certain benefits flowed to the people from the observance of the ceasefire, which resulted in our strong determination and desire to preserve the ceasefire," Sripala de Silva said.
He pointed out that the LTTE had been "highly provocative" since the new Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa took office in November 2005. There were assassinations and abductions.
But his government had had "reacted with patience", getting the praise of the international community.
The government delegate contrasted his government's commitment to democracy against the LTTE's lack of regard for it. He pointed out that the LTTE had prevented people from the North East from voting in the November 2005 presidential elections.
Sripala de Silva urged the LTTE to allow all Sri Lankan political parties to work in the areas controlled by it just as the LTTE was allowed to do political work in the areas controlled by the government.
About the violations of the ceasefire, he pointed out that 96 per cent of them were committed by the LTTE as per the figures put out by the Scandinavian truce monitors, the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM).
He charged that the LTTE had killed the respected Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar when the ceasefire was in full force.
Plight of Muslims
He then referred to the plight of the Muslims in the North East who were expelled en masse from the North (in 1990) and those in the East were being subjected to violence and intimidation by the LTTE even now.
"It is the belief of the Government of Sri Lanka that the dialogue about the ceasefire would take into account the urgent concerns of the Muslim community. Accordingly, these issues and interests must be adequately addressed for the ceasefire to be meaningful," Sripala de Silva said.
On the issue of child recruitment by the LTTE, the Sri Lankan delegate said that 5368 children had been recruited and that according to the UNICEF this was an "under-representation of the actual number."
Calling for a revision of the CFA, the Sri Lankan delegate said: " These circumstances underscore the inherent weaknesses in the existing ceasefire agreement as well as the lack of sanctions being attached to violations when there are clear determinations made by the SLMM. This is a very serious shortcoming that needs to be addressed in the interest of all concerned."