New GoSL 'agenda' for talks with LTTE called smokescreen

[TamilNet, Friday, 24 December 2004, 02:18 GMT]
Sri Lanka’s President Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga’s claims of a ‘new agenda’ for the resumption of peace talks with the Liberation Tigers through the Norwegian facilitators must be viewed in the context of the hurdle she faces in winning a two-thirds majority in parliament for the constitutional changes to abolish the executive presidency that she plans to table in January 2005, said the Jaffna-based Tamil language daily, Uthayan, in its editorial Wednesday.

Political commentators in Sri Lanka widely believe that the president wants to abolish the executive presidency and enter parliament as Prime Minister, so that she could continue to rule the country and not be constrained by the term limits on the executive president.

"To achieve her aim, the President wants to create an impression among Tamil National Alliance MPs, a section of United National Party MPs and the international community that she wants to resume peace talks with the Liberation Tigers," the editorial said.

The Uthayan noted the president’s similar claims in the past, in particular, her promise in 1994 to then contender for the presidency, Mr. Nihal Galapathy of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), that she would abolish executive presidency within one year of being elected. The promise was not honored, and now that her two-term presidency is about to end in about a year [or two depending on controversial interpretations of oaths], she is "obsessed with the thought of how to abolish the executive presidency," the editorial said.

The paper argued that there are two tests to which the Liberation Tigers would subject her proposals: One, they will not agree to any agenda for peace talks that “merely glosses over the issues without containing definite, clear cut and well demarcated proposals for resumption of peace talks," and two, the Tigers, "who have obtained a mandate as the sole representatives of the Tamil people, will not agree to any agenda for Peace talks contrary to that mandate.”

“Will the president’s ‘new agenda’ survive these two tests?” asked the editorial.

 

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