JVP boycott of APRC helps LTTE- Vitarane

[TamilNet, Sunday, 01 April 2007, 00:19 GMT]
Science and Technology Minister Tissa Vitarane, chairman of the All Party Representatives' Committee (APRC) appointed by Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse in June 2006 to work out a political package to find a lasting political solution, said Saturday that the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) is helping the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) by not participating and submitting its political proposals to the APRC to solve the ethnic conflict.

Tissa Vitarane
The JVP, which is third largest political party represented in parliament with 39 parliamentarians, boycotted the APRC since early December saying it is not interested in formulating a political package based on federal concept to solve the crisis.

JVP insists that any political solution to the conflict should be found within the current unitary form of constitution.

Mr. Vitarane said that the participation of the JVP is not necessary as the Sri Lanka Freedom party (SLFP), main constituent of the United peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA), and the main opposition United National party (UNP) have been co-operating to formulate a political package.

When formed in June 2006, the APRC was tasked to produce a report before the expected peace talks between the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka in the last week of October. When the 17-member panel of "Legal/Constitutional Experts" finally 'completed' its task, there were four separate, competing reports. The reports, leaked to the media in December, triggered controversy.

In early March, Vitarana, a respected Left politician, said the consensual APRC proposal, which was hoped to be ready by February, had been delayed because of the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party's (SLFP) delay in submitting its proposals.

On 22nd March, the Minister said he wants the "exercise to be completed over the next 60 days," again moving the deadline to end of May.

Veteran political observers say that the APRC proposals, touted as a document that will represent a "southern consensus," is nothing but a subterfuge by Colombo to present a peace front to the International Community. Moreover, the International community is widely seen by the Tamils as being tacitly supporting Colombo to buy time to prosecute the war against Tamils by promoting the proposals as a viable vehicle to resolve the ethnic conflict. The APRC and the proposal exercise were never designed to succeed, the political analysts say.

Dr Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, Director of Colombo think tank, Center for Policy Alternatives, wrote in a 19th July column of Morning Leader: "There is no clear policy from government on the issue of a constitutional settlement or sense of urgency with regard to acquiring one even through the APC [All Party Conference] process, begging the question of as to whether the process is about being seen to be doing something and about buying time and not much else."

LTTE in its Tamil publication dismissed the exercise as "a political drama to dress-up unitary constitution."


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