Colombo's bona fides on creating normalcy ahead of talks, questionable - paper

[TamilNet, Monday, 06 February 2006, 13:25 GMT]
Uthayan, the Jaffna based daily, in its Monday editorial warned of the potentially dangerous consequences of the attitude being displayed by the Sri Lankan Government insisting on its innocense and not taking urgent action to secure the release of the seven humanitarian workers of the Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) in the east. Referring to the "strict adherence" by the Tamil side in living up to its pledge on the cessation of hostilities the last two weeks, since the meeting between Norwegian Peace Envoy and the LTTE leader commenced on January 25, the paper questioned whether Colombo has demonstrated its will to create a conducive environment in the run-up to the truce talks.

Uthayan editorial
The paper also expressed fears at the renewed warning issued by the "Upsurging People's Force" in Jaffna.

"The recommencement of the peace talks relating to the Sri Lankan peace process is in a crisis now", observes the editorial.

The consensus for the Geneva talks was reached on the 25th January, in a meeting between the leader of the Liberation Tigers, Mr. V. Pirapaharan and the Norwegian facilitators headed by the Norwegian International Development Minister Mr. Erik Solheim at Kilinochchi.

"Mr. Anton Balasingham, the advisor of Liberation Tigers, expounded the necessity of the creation of a ccnducive atmosphere if the peace talk is to commence," the paper said stressing the need to comply with pledges in both words and deeds.

"The talks should and could take place only in a conducive atmosphere, in the absence of confrontations, battles, military and paramilitary atrocities. This has been the long known Tamil stance," the paper said.

The editorial quotes Mr. Balasingham saying to the press as: "We are ready to participate in the talks on "smooth implementation" of the CFA. But, the violations and the violence against innocent Tamils should cease at once. A conducive atmosphere of goodwill has to be created. This is what has been reiterated emphatically by the leader of the Liberation Tigers. Creation of a conucive environment rests entirely in the hands of Sri Lankan government. Talks of this nature had taken place before too. The very reason for any such talks being disrupted are the Lankan armed forces' attacks on innocent Tamils. These had been the cause for the break of talks, beginning from Thimbu to the last."

"Mr. Balasingham has said that the Tamils will be ceasing all attacks against the Sri Lankan armed forces in order to fulfil their part of obligation," informs the editorial.

"Tamils have lived up to the pledges so far. Since the talks agreement the Tigers have exhibited their strict adherence to the pledge and Colombo knows this. But, the TRO staffers have been abducted and detained by paramilitaries in government controlled region; the Commanders of the Sri Lanka Armed forces are maintaining innocence. One could imagine the consequences", the editorial.

"The Tamils may be forced to handle the paramilitaries directly if the government maintains it has no connections to the suspects. In this context, we have to view the announcement made by the 'Upsurging People's Force' where the group has said, actions against the paramilitary elements will recommence in the Jaffna peninsula", observes the editor.

"Should such a situation develop, the atmosphere necessary for the talks would deteriorate; disasters will follow. It would not be surprising should these trends lead to a major war" warns the editorial.

"It is the duty of a responsible government to prevent such disasters taking place. Even now, it is not too late. This is the ground reality" the editorial concludes.


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