No Tamil Eelam, only devolution within Unitary State- Rajapakse

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 14 February 2006, 12:57 GMT]
Ruling out demands by the Liberation Tigers for a separate homeland in the NorthEast, Sri Lanka's President Rajapakse in an interview with Reuters ahead of Geneva talks said, "This is a small country, where you can't have two states. I won't allow the country to be divided," he added. "You have to give up the concept of having two nations, or two countries … There is no Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka. There cannot be an Eelam."

On disarming paramilitary cadres, Mr Rajapakse said, "If any group operates in our area, we will stop it. Any groups carrying arms will be brought under control, whether it is the so-called Karuna group or the LTTE," Reuters report further said.

Indicating that Mr Rajapakse is looking at British type models for devolving power, a report in Tuesday's Daily Mirror quoted Rajapakse as saying, "Take Britain ... it is unitary ... That shows that under a unitary government, you can devolve power," he added. "This will be a new Sri Lankan model ... Both sides will have to sit down and decide what they can give up and what we can give up."

Reacting to Mr Rajapakse's interview, Professor Kumar David, Senior member of Democratic Left Front (DLF), told TamilNet that he believes only an "asymmetric form of federalism," will work for Sri Lanka and Mr Rajapakse has to shed the hardline rhetoric if the "Sinhala State is ever to deliver a solution."

Elected on a hardline nationalist platform allied with marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, and extreme nationalist Buddhist monk's party Jathika Hela Urumaya, Sri Lanka President Rajapakse's manifesto "Mahinda Chintanaya" bluntly rejected the concept of a Tamil homeland and the notion of self-determination. That has effectively put paid to the notions of federalism, which is underpinned by both the homeland concept and the ‘internal’ self-determination principle.


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