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Civil Society Forum supports federal constitution in Sri Lanka

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 11 August 2004, 21:06 GMT]
"An Interim Administrative structure should be established in the NorthEast Province on the basis of the Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA) proposals of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Thereafter a new constitution based on the fully-fledged federal concept should be formulated. The country would be divided into two in failing to do so," said Civil Socieity Forum Chairman, Dr.Kumar Rupasinghe, addressing a press conference Wednesday at Hotel Nippon in Colombo.

Dr. Kumar Rupasinghe
Dr. Kumar Rupasinghe
Dr.Rupasinghe revealed the contents of the discussion he and other representatives of the Civil Socieity Forum had with the LTTE's Political Head Mr.S.P.Thamilchelvan recently.

Dr. Rupasinghe led a group of 18 civil society members who visited Kilinochchi on August 06, 2004.

"The Federal concept is suitable for our country. Hence the government should commence peace talks on the basis of the ISGA," said Dr. Rupasinghe.

"Mr.Thamilchelvan had complained that Sinhalese people in the south had failed to understand correctly the federal concept. He is of the opinion that political leaders in the south are not consistent in their political stand. Mr.Thamilchelvan lamented that the southern political leaders have been in the habit of saying one thing in the morning and a completely different one in the evening," Dr. Rupasinghe said.

He referred to a recent examination of the ISGA proposals and the Government proposals of 95,97, and August 2000. "There was about 70% agreement, about 10% grey areas and 20% serious differences."

"Negotiations are all about resolving the 20% of what are seemingly intractable issues", he said.

"The government should use the Norwegian facilitation properly. The sovereignty of the country could not be affected by conferring self-determination right to the Tamil people."

Dr.Rupasinghe said he met with the Chairman of the Government's Peace Secretariat, Dr. Jayantha Dhanapala, after his Kilinochchi visit and conveyed the views expressed by Mr.Thamilchelvan to the Civil Socieity Forum delegation in Kilinochchi. He said that Dr. Dhanapala had told him that the President was keen to resume the negotiations and the views of the President have been conveyed through the Norwegian facilitators.

He said further that the President should resume negotiations as soon as possible with courage and determinations and that he was personally convinced that she would do so.

Dr. Rupasinghe is the Chair of the Foundation for Coexistence. He was formerly the Secretary General of the London based organisation International Alert. Prior to that, he was the Deputy Director of the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO). He has authored and edited numerous publications in the field of conflict resolution.

 

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