Feature Article

JVP noose around APRC neck

[TamilNet, Sunday, 06 January 2008, 02:02 GMT]
While State media continues to provide an air of credibility to the All Party Representative Committee (APRC), insiders revealed to the Sunday Leader that APRC committee has decided to "delay discussing the contentious issues until the end but that they have now reached a deadlock with the JHU and SLFP insisting on a unitary state while the other parties have objected to the use of that terminology." The Sunday Leader further said that while several members have insisted on a set of proposals which goes beyond the 13th Amendment, the JVP has warned that they would topple the government if any proposals resembling a federal formula is forwarded in February.

Quotes on APRC Effort
Scrapping of the CFA, and dissolution of the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) were two of the four demands put forward by the JVP in November for supporting the budget of Rajpakse Government.

CFA was annuled, on January 2nd, after Gotabhaya Rajapakse, brother of Sri Lanka's President, in an interview to state owned Daily News said that the Government would "give a solution" to the Tamil people after proscribing the LTTE and abolishing the CFA.

But, dismantling APRC, will carry a bigger political cost, as it serves as the only available instrument that gives a veneer of respectability to the Government of Sri Lanka's bonafides towards its peace project. The following events illustrate why it is useful to Sri Lanka to keep the chimerical APRC alive while pursuing the military agenda:
  • During the CHOGM meeting in Uganda on November 21, Foreign Minister Bogollagama said that he had a meeting with Pranab Mukherjee, India's External Affairs Minister, in which he kept the "Minister informed of the progress that they have made in APRC." "In fact, what we are looking at and what I said to Minister Pranab Mukherjee is that we are entering into the final phase on APRC deliberations and shortly we will be announcing the proposals –I think it will be out by the end of this year and that end of our budget …that is being discussed in the House,” Bogollagama added.
  • Ambassador Robert Blake’s Remarks at a Seminar on "Sri Lanka: the Way Forward" on September 21: "A key part of that equation will be for the All Parties Representative Committee to complete its important work on a power-sharing proposal. From all accounts the APRC has made substantial progress."
APRC Chairman and Science and Technology Minister, Prof. Tissa Vitharana, has been placed in an unenviable position of having to make statements for political expediency, statements that he cannot honestly fulfil. "APRC expects to present its report with recommendations to Sri Lanka's President in two weeks," 19th November edition of Daily Mirror quoted Prof Vitarne as saying.

Prof. Vitarne continued to play the percentage game: “The APRC has been able to come to a consensus on about 85% of core issues during its deliberations, with the participation of 13 political parties," he told the paper.

The need for APRC to come up with a proposal that addresses the core issues of the Sri Lanka conflict, and also acceptable to the International Community, in the short term, has receded as the possibility of war breaking out has increased. When war does break-out, war drums are likely to drown voices of peace, and Prof. Vitarne will likely have much needed respite from making his regular ignominous predictions on APRC's "progress".

But, even after having failed to produce any tangible proposal, APRC may have accomplished why it was constituted by Rajapakse in the first place.

External Links:
DM: APRC rejects Devananda’s proposal
DM: JVP wants CFA abolished to support Budget
DM: APRC to bring in new set of proposals
TI: Pranab holds bi-lateral talks with Sri Lankan counterpart in Uganda
DM: Give priority to this issue
DM: An ‘expert’ conspiracy or a conspiracy against experts?
DM: APRC to present report with recommendations in 2 weeks


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