JM failure will boost prospects for direct aid to Tigers- SLFP

[TamilNet, Thursday, 16 June 2005, 10:31 GMT]
"If we fail to agree on the Joint Mechanism (JM) with the LTTE, it is likely that aid will go directly to the Tigers and LTTE controlled NGOs. The Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) will be left out of the decision-making for reconstruction," said a propaganda leaflet circulated by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), main constituent of the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government, Wednesday evening when it launched an awareness campaign in eighteen districts in the south of Sri Lanka to win support for the Joint Mechanism proposal, political sources in Colombo said.

Hundreds of thousands of leaflets describing the consequences of failure to sign the Joint Mechanism were distributed to members of the public in three places in the City of Colombo- Maradana railway junction, in front of the Fort railway station and Nugegoda bus stand, sources said.

Ministers in the UPFA government Dr.Sarath Amunugama and Mr.Nimal Sripala de Silva led the campaign in the Colombo city.

This leaflet was earlier circulated among SLFP parliamentarians and electoral and party organizers on Monday after a meeting with the President Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge, sources said.

Excerpts from the leaflet follow:

Question: What if the government fails to agree to this JM?
Answer: We must consider an alternative to the Joint Mechanism. If we fail to agree on the JM with the LTTE, it is likely that aid will go directly to the Tigers and LTTE controlled NGOs. The Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) will be left out of the decision-making for reconstruction. Furthermore, the GOSL's credibility with the Tamils, with all the tsunami victims in the North and the East, and the international community, would be shattered.

Question: What if any agreement is not signed?
Answer: Politically, Sri Lanka needs the JM. The JM, by engaging the LTTE at a political level, can help reduce the likelihood of the resumption of war. Furthermore, if it were not signed, it would strengthen the extremists in the country who are against peace process and are likely to endanger the already fragile ceasefire.

Question: Will the JM give the LTTE greater legitimacy?
Answer: The JM will give some legitimacy to the LTTE, but precisely because they are working together with the government. If not, the LTTE is likely to campaign for direct funding on the grounds that the GOSL is not meeting the humanitarian needs of the Tamil people and many countries may decide to support the LTTE/TRO. It would be awkward for the GOSL to block such support without being vulnerable to the charge that it is hampering humanitarian assistance. The LTTE is no longer banned in Sri Lanka. The Joint Mechanism will provide a framework for the LTTE to work with the GOSL and others in a transparent and accountable process of governance. Given the reality that the LTTE is in control of territory and has political influence in other areas, the GOSL or anyone who seeks to do the humanitarian work in certain areas of the North and East has no alternative but to work with the LTTE.

 

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