International Community should learn from experience, Vaiko tells Norway
[TamilNet, Friday, 11 April 2008, 23:03 GMT] Expressing that the lack of implementation by the Government of Sri Lanka on the agreed principles of the February 2002 Cease Fire Agreement (CFA), especially disarming of army backed paramilitary groups, led to the ultimate breakdown of the peace process, Vaiko, the General Secretary of Marumalarchchi Dravida Munneatta Kazhakam (MDMK), told Norwegian International Development Minister Erik Solheim and Jon Hanssen-Bauer, the Norwegian Special Envoy, that the International Community should prevail upon the GoSL to reinstate the ceasefire in order to engage in a meaningful process for a negotiated settlement.
Vaiko meets Erik Solheim
MFA officials Thomas Stangeland and Sondre Bjøtvedt were present at the meeting, that took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Oslo.
Vaiko with Erik Solheim and Jon Hanssen-Bauer
Expressing gratitude on behalf of the Tamils in India to the Royal Norwegian Government for its engagement as facilitator to the CFA and its continued interest in facilitating to resolve the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, Vaiko told TamilNet that his visit to Norway to attend a conference, titled "Peace and Reconciliation in South Asia," organized by the International Association for Human Values, gave him a unique opportunity in bringing the concerns of more than 60 million Tamils in Tamil Nadu, to Norway.
The International Community should be made aware that the Norwegian facilitated CFA had collapsed as the Sri Lankan Government seriously violated the CFA, clause by clause, and systematically scuttled it fully, before unilaterally withdrawing from the ceasefire, he said.
A key violation of the agreed principles was the clause 1.8 which demanded the Government of Sri Lanka to disarm the paramilitary groups, Vaiko told TamilNet.
LTTE's late chief negotiators Anton Balasingham and S.P. Thamilchelvan, had repeatedly pointed out this gross violation by the GoSL on several occasions, he said.
However, the Interational Community did not engage with this problem before 2006, by which time Colombo launched direct military operations, he said.
The International Community, which had failed to apply timely pressure on the GoSL to honour the CFA, while the agreement was still in force, should now re-evaluate its approach to Sri Lanka based on the past experiences and adopt a strategy, which will result in restoring the diplomatic balance between the protagonists to the conflict so as to create and sustain a conducive environment for negotiations.
The two-day conference held in Oslo was attended by H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, one of the founders of the IAHV, Professor Rajiva Wijesinha, Secreatary General of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOOP), Ms. Erika Mann, Member of European Parliament, Arumugam Thondaman of Ceylon Workers Congress and a minister in the UPFA government, Jayalath Jayawardene, opposition UNP MP, Venerable Brahmanawatte Seevali Nayaka Thero from Amarapura Mahanikaya, Venerable Maduluvave Sobitha Nayaka Thero from the Nagavihara Kotte, Prof. Indra de Soysa from PRIO in Oslo and Nirj Deva, Member of European Parliament. Several others also took part in the workshops on Sri Lanka, Burma and on Naxalism in India and Nepal.