Feature Article

Colombo lacks strategic objective for conflict transformation- Saravanamuttu

[TamilNet, Sunday, 14 May 2006, 17:29 GMT]
Pointing out "disturbing aspects" in the institutionalization of good practices in governance in Sri Lanka, Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, Executive Director of Center for Policy Alternatives (CPA), a Colombo-based think-tank, says that the Government lacks a roadmap for the future with a "clear and cogently stated vision and action plan," and that the Government's approach to Geneva talks has exposed a "lack of strategic objective" towards conflict transformation, in a political column that appeared in this week's Morning Leader,

"The questions of the venue of talks, the agenda of talks, what transpired at the first round and now the transport arrangements for the LTTE in preparation for the second round, indicate a lack of strategic objective on the part of the government as far as conflict transformation is concerned," says Saravanamuttu.

Colombo appears to be concerned more with "exorcism of the ghosts of the past," and to show a hardline stand towards the peace process as distinct from its more "appeasing predecessors," Saravananmuttu says. Treating the peace process to impress the political constituency has resulted in deadlock and has "trapped the [Sri Lanka] Government into a set of talks that will only reinforce stalemate," he adds.

Saravanamuttu questions the approach behind government's professed committment to going back to Geneva talks. Talks, he says, will continue to be on the implementation of CFA. Karuna issue, however, remains unresolved and issue of High Security Zones (HSZ) will likely be taken up in the next session- both will present difficulties to the Government. LTTE will resist attempts to include other items such as rights questions and democratization, resulting in either talks not taking place or talks aborting after it starts. Government's "two decade old discredited formula of maximum devolution under unitary state," will likely scuttle any effort to address political issues, Saravanamuttu says.

"What is missing is any evidence of any interest on the part of the government in tackling these political issues, begging the question both of intention and capacity. Until and unless the government breaks the bonds of its discredited constitutional paradigm for conflict transformation, its contribution to conflict transformation is in danger of being a negative one," Saravanamuttu cautions.

On the issues of good governance, violating 17th amendment to the constitution related to constitutional councils and the reported introduction of a Sri Lanka version of US Patriot Act are reasons for concern, Saravanamuttu writes.

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External Links:
ML: Does govt. have a plan for peace and governance?
EPIC: USA Patriot Act


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