with an interim set up
devastating floods swept away President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s
attempts to take over the Development Lotteries Board (DLB) from the
political agenda, the government and the LTTE moved closer last
week to breaking the deadlock over the peace talks and the Tokyo donor
conference following shuttle diplomacy to establish an administrative
structure for north east development and reconstruction.
was Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who first mooted the
idea of an interim administration for the north east in his election
manifesto and secured a mandate from the people to move in that
direction, but with the commencement of talks in September 2002, there
was a shift in direction as a result of perceived legal obstacles.
birth of SIHRN
led to the birth of a Joint Task Force for Humanitarian and
Reconstruction Activities at the first session of talks in Sattahip,
Thailand, and the task force later came to be transformed into the
Sub-committee on Immediate Humanitarian and Rehabilitation Needs (SIHRN)
during the second session.
was SIHRN that was to deal with the rehabilitation of the Internally
Displaced Persons (IDPs), the humanitarian mine action programme,
reconstruction of roads, health facilities, schools and related issues
but in reality, hardly any progress was made on the ground to give the
people in the north east a peace dividend, largely due to bureaucratic
red tape and legal hurdles compelling the Tigers to rethink their
Tigers also realised the Prime Minister was constrained due to
roadblocks placed by the opposition in general and the President in
particular in arriving at a speedy solution, primarily in the backdrop
of a slim parliamentary majority.
under immense pressure on the ground, the LTTE leadership finally
suspended its participation from the peace talks pending implementation
of the decisions already reached during the earlier rounds of talks and
has now reverted to Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’s original proposal
in a bid to break the deadlock.
fought a separatist war for over 20 years and in addition to the
devastating economic and social consequences, sacrificed the lives of
17,000 cadres on the premise they can no longer live with the Sinhalese
in one country, the LTTE had some tough explaining to do on their
decision to embrace a federal solution within a united Sri Lanka and the
lack of progress after one year of talks did not help their case in so
the Tigers, there was therefore no point in attending the donor
conference in Tokyo or peace talks for that matter unless an effective
mechanism was in place to handle the funds received for development and
reconstruction of the north east and saw an effective administrative
structure being in place as the only way to overcome this hurdle.
issue was exhaustively discussed between LTTE Leader Velupillai
Pirapaharan and Chief Negotiator Anton Balasingham prior to the
latter’s departure to London and the LTTE leadership came to the
conclusion all institutions handling rehabilitation, reconstruction and
development activities in the north east should be brought under one
umbrella if effective progress is to be made and that only an interim
administrative structure could do so.
a structure, the LTTE decided, was the only way the people can be
afforded a peace dividend to move the peace process forward and justify
their position of the need to continue the search for a political
LTTE leadership which also discussed the southern political situation
came to the conclusion that as long as Chandrika Kumaratunga remained
President and the UNP lacked an effective majority in parliament, there
can be no final solution on the lines envisaged in the Oslo declaration
and that it was another important reason for an effective interim
administrative structure to handle the development and reconstruction
work of the north east.
unlike the 10 year offer made by President Kumaratunga, it was a period
of about two years the LTTE was now looking at in terms of Prime
Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s manifesto pledge.
thinking in fact came to be reflected in Anton Balasingham’s letter on
May 21 to Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister, Vidar Helgessen in the
LTTE leadership is of the view that a permanent political settlement to
the Tamil national question can only be actualised in a supreme
constitution instituting a radically new policy, an endeavour that
cannot be realised under the current unstable political climate. Since a
permanent political settlement is not feasible in the immediate future,
the Tiger leadership proposes an interim administrative structure with
greater participation of the LTTE in both decision making and delivery
of the tasks of rebuilding the war damaged economy and restoring
normalcy in the Tamil speaking homeland.”
column last week exclusively reported the LTTE’s thinking on this
issue and the decision to call for an interim administrative structure
to handle north east development and reconstruction.
first official intimation of the LTTE wanting to look at an interim
administrative structure came when Norwegian Foreign Minister Jan
Petersen, accompanied by Deputy Helgessen called on Pirapaharan last
week and it was duly communicated to Prime Minister Wickremesinghe.
fact it was to convey this very message that Pirapaharan met with
Petersen despite the sudden departure of Balasingham, with the LTTE
Chief Negotiator insisting he meet with the Norwegians and convey the
LTTE thinking, notwithstanding Balasing-ham’s inability to be present.
this proposal by Pirapaharan to revert to Prime Minister
Wickremesinghe’s manifesto pledge saw heightened activity by the
Norwegians with Helgessen doing some shuttle diplomacy between Colombo
and Kilinochchi where three documents exchanged hands. The three drafts
were an agreement between the government and the LTTE, a paper on
elements of a strengthened and expanded mechanism for reconstruction and
development of the north and east, and a letter proposing the local
bodies be used as a basis for development activities, all of which were
drafts prepared by the Norwegians. The government of course made its own
observations on the drafts before the Norwegians took their proposals to
on Saturday, May 17, Helgessen met with LTTE Political Wing Leader
Tamilselvan and Head, Tiger Peace Secretariat, S. Puleedevan, where
these documents were handed over and the Norwegian deputy was informed
they would revert to him after consulting the LTTE Leader and
Balasingham in London.
that meeting, Helgessen said he could return to the Wanni on Monday, May
19 if further discussion on the documents were necessary but was told by
Tamilselvan they would inform him Sunday night if that would be
having got Helgessen’s draft proposals, the LTTE leadership
immediately communicated with Balasin-gham with instructions to prepare
a suitable response thereto. Pirapaharan spoke with Balasingham via
satellite phone and explained his thinking on the proposals and having
discussed the issue decided what form the reply would take. At the same
time, Erik Solheim too had e-mailed the proposals to Balasingham making
his own comments thereon.
the serious nature of the documents received, Balasingham required
further time to study them before making his response and as such, LTTE
Peace Secretariat Head, Puleedevan on Sunday called Second Secretary of
the Norwegian Embassy, Tomas Stangeland and informed him the LTTE needs
to give Balasingham more time on the documents and a Monday meeting
would not be feasible. Helgessen thereafter planned to leave the country
developments also gave lie to the
speculation in some quarters that Balasingham has been sidelined in a
In the meantime, back in Colombo, on Sunday a Tamil National Alliance (TNA)
parliamentary delegation comprising R. Sambandan, Gajan Ponnambalam, P.
Joseph and N. Raviraj at the request of the government met with a team
of officials, namely, Treasury Secretary Charitha Ratwatte, Defence
Secretary Austin Fernando, Ambassador Bernard Goonetilleke and Treasury
official Pathmanathan where the development work in the north east was
At this meeting, the TNA delegation told the officials, SIHRN was a
failure and the LTTE was looking for an administrative structure to
handle development of the north east in order to make their
participation in Tokyo meaningful.
If there is no such structure in place, the monies pledged in Tokyo will
be meaningless as far as the people of the north east are concerned.
That is the LTTE position, the TNA delegation pointed out.
Asked Defence Secretary Austin Fernando, “What sort of a mechanism is
the LTTE looking for? Is it prepared to come under the constitution?”
In response, the TNA members said the LTTE was looking at an interim
arrangement where effective decisions can be taken to carry out
development activity and that it did not have to be a constitutional
It was Ambassador Goonetilleke who posed a pertinent question at this
stage, and one which would be the obvious battle cry of the opposition.
Asked Goonetilleke: “Interim to what? Is it to a separate state as
claimed by the opposition?”
Replied Sambandan, “Not at all. That argument no longer holds water
after Oslo where a declaration was made to pursue a federal solution
based on internal self determination within a united country.”
With that said, a broad framework for an interim structure was discussed
and the following day, Monday, May 19, the same TNA delegation with the
addition of MPs Vinayagamoorthy and Thangavadivel met with Prime
Minister Wickremesinghe, where once again the same issue was the subject
The Prime Minister at this meeting agreed SIHRN was not adequate to
handle the complexity of the problem but inquired from the TNA what
ideas they had for an interim administrative structure.
“It can’t be done by a mere law. Constitutionally too it is
difficult because of the parliamentary equation. One way could be to
have an authority under an administrative order like the Mahaweli
Authority. Will that be
okay?” the Prime Minister asked.
The TNA delegation which was scheduled to leave for the Wanni the
following day, Tuesday, May 20, to meet with Tamilselvan said they would
bounce the idea off the LTTE, which they in fact did.
On so doing, Tamilselvan said the LTTE has already received a similar
proposal through the Norwegians and was studying it.
However, Tamilselvan said while the general thinking on the
administrative structure was okay, it must necessarily have the power to
deal with the issue of reconstruction and development.
At this meeting Sambandan also told Tamilselvan while Sinhala leaders
cannot be trusted given their past experience, he was convinced of Prime
Minister Wickremesinghe’s sincerity and that the proposal should be
approached in a manner which will not cause him serious problems in the
At the same time, Helgessen prior to leaving the country Monday, met
with the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo, Nirupam Sen where a full
briefing of the latest developments was given, after which the Norwegian
deputy left for India to brief the Indian government.
In the meantime, Balasingham was busy preparing the LTTE’s response to
Helgessen’s proposals and having finalised it Tuesday night sent it to
the LTTE Leader for approval and having got the green light, despatched
it Wednesday morning.
Having so done, the LTTE later in the afternoon released the letter to
the media, thereby placing the proposal for public discussion in a
spirit of transparency.
Interestingly, the LTTE as reflected in the letter was calling for an
interim administrative structure to undertake north eastern
reconstruction and development activities without pushing the issues of
High Security Zones (HSZ) or the Nambiar report to the forefront,
thereby giving the government a window of opportunity to seize on the
proposal and revive the peace process and also give new life to the
Tokyo donor conference, the outcome of which was going to benefit the
country in its entirety.
Tokyo donor conference
The government also realises that without the LTTE’s presence in
Tokyo, despite claims by the opposition to the contrary, the donor
conference will not attract the same attention and a stalled peace
process as reflected by the World Bank representative recently will
before long see the foreign investors losing interest in Sri Lanka,
taking the country back to square one.
At the same time, for the LTTE too, the Tokyo conference was of the
essence since a missed opportunity would not only set the clock back by
years as far as reconstruction of the north east is concerned, but also
considerably lose for it international goodwill it has been striving to
Thus, the proposal for an interim administrative structure if worked to
the satisfaction of both sides was going to be a win win situation for
both sides and the country as a whole given the new impetus it would
give the peace process and with it the economy.
And what was significant in Balasingham’s letter was the reference to
the Indo Lanka Agreement which not only provided for such an arrangement
where the LTTE was to have majority representation but one that was
accepted by Chandrika Kumaratunga and her SLMP at the time.
Furthermore, unlike President Kumaratunga’s proposal to the LTTE where
the Tigers were offered exclusively an interim administration for 10
years, Balasingham’s letter envisages wider participation as stated in
his letter to Helgessen. “In this context we wish to point out that
the government of India proposed an interim administrative mechanism
following the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord of 1987 providing LTTE with a
dominant participatory role,” Balasingham wrote, indicating thereby
there was a role for the others too in the interim set up.
Within a hour after the LTTE released the letter to the media stating
their position on the interim administration, Prime Minister
Wickremesinghe was in possession of a copy and immediately discussed the
issue with his negotiators, G.L. Peiris and Milinda Moragoda.
The thinking of the Prime Minister was, in principle he had no objection to the proposal but that it would have to be structured in a
manner acceptable to all parties concerned, that is the Tamils, Muslims
No sooner this consultation concluded, Minister Moragoda went in for a
meeting with the diplomats from the donor nations to prepare for the
Tokyo conference while Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and Minister Peiris
went into discussion with a TNA delegation comprising R. Sambandan,
Gajan Ponnambalam, N. Raviraj, Suresh Premachandra and P. Joseph.
And at the very outset, the Prime Minister told the TNA delegation the
LTTE had officially announced its position on the interim administrative
structure and the government would after studying the proposal respond
Wickremesinghe said in principle he had no objection to an interim
administrative structure to handle reconstruction and development in the
north east having got a mandate from the people on the issue, but
queried what exactly the LTTE had in mind, particularly in relation to
the Muslims and Sinhalese of the east.
At the same time, Minister Peiris inquired where the interim arrangement
would lead, which saw Sambandan explaining the LTTE thinking as
discussed with the TNA.
Sambandan said the interim arrangement was to be in place until such
time a permanent solution is found based on a federal structure within a
united Sri Lanka based on the principle of internal self determination.
United Sri Lanka
There is, therefore, no question of it being a basis for separation
since the very foundation is based on accepting the position that Sri
Lanka will be united, the TNA delegation said.
Elaborating on the issue, Sambandan said the sort of composition
contemplated would be on the lines of the 1987 proposal where the 12
member committee was to have seven representatives of the LTTE, of which
one was to be a Muslim, two from the TULF and three from the government,
of which two would be Muslims and one Sinhalese.
He further said the LTTE had no objection to there being Muslim and
Sinhala representation in the administration.
This led to the next question of opposition in the south, particularly
by the JVP and the PA.
Said Sambandan, “No way can President Kumaratunga object to an interim
administration. In 2000, when the President brought her proposals, she
provided for an interim arrangement. It provided for six Tamils, two
Muslims and one Sinhalese, so how can she oppose it now? There is no way
either the President or the PA can oppose it.”
Added he — “Even the Muslim Congress cannot oppose it because
Ashraff agreed with President Kumaratunga when this composition for an
interim administration was proposed.”
Continuing, Sambandan said the government should have no worries about
the President opposing it since she offered an interim administration to
the LTTE exclusively for 10 years without elections.
“Not only did she tell Time magazine she offered the LTTE an
interim administration to run the north for 10 years, she told all the
Tamil parties she was willing to hand over the entire north east to the
LTTE for 10 years. I was personally present when this was said,”
Agreeing with Sambandan was EPRLF Leader Suresh Premachandra, who said
he too was present when the President made the statement.
This in fact is how Time reported Kumaratunga’s interview in
its issue of February 9, 1998, which to date stands uncontradicted:
“The President told Time she promised
Prabhakaran an autonomous package and also said if he stopped fighting
he could run the northern province using his police force, without
having to face elections for upto 10 years. She says the Tiger Chief
It is significant to note here that the President did not
call for the decommissioning of the LTTE to give it a 10 year interim
administration but simply to “stop fighting,” which in effect is a
Further, by asking the LTTE to use its police force,
Kumaratunga has also acknowledged the Tigers had a fully fledged police
force during her tenure, to which police she was prepared to concede law
and order in the area.
Be that as it may, the following day, Thursday, Prime Minister
Wickremesinghe further discussed the issue with Ministers Peiris and
Moragoda and his officials where a draft response was worked on.
One problem the Prime Minister faced in so doing was that he had even on
Thursday not been officially informed of Balasingham’s letter by the
Norwegians since Helgessen was away in Brussels and not got the letter
But given the media release, the Prime Minister started preparing his
response subject to how the Norwegians meant to handle the
And on Thursday night, the Prime Minister together with Ministers Peiris
and Moragoda also discussed the issue with Norwegian Ambassador Hans
Brattskar, who indicated the facilitators would be meeting in Oslo
Friday morning to discuss the issue after which an intimation would be
made to the Prime Minister.
The Norwegians it transpired were deliberating among themselves whether
they were merely going to be a postman or make their own proposals in
forwarding Balasingham’s letter to the Prime Minister. The question
which arose here was that Balasingham’s letter was addressed to
Helgessen and not Wickremesinghe, setting out the LTTE position on the
proposals submitted by Helgessen and the organisation’s own position
on an interim administrative structure to handle north east development.
In that context, the Norwegians had to decide whether they were simply
going to forward to Wickremesinghe a letter addressed to Helgessen where
proposals submitted by Helgessen were commented on or write to the Prime
Minister based on Balasingham’s proposals seeking a response and
dialogue on it.
In the meantime, the Prime Minister in preparing his response subject to
what the Norwegian’s were going to do decided to be constructive, and
draw attention to his manifesto pledge for an interim administrative
structure to handle north east development as well as speeches made
after his election reiterating his commitment to the pledge.
put, the Prime Minister, who on Wednesday also spoke with the Mahanayake
Thero of Malwatte on the issue was agreeing in principle to the
establishment of an interim administrative set up subject to the
modalities being worked out.
At the same time, ground work for the Tokyo donor conference was also
done and it was all systems go by Friday, with Moragoda scheduled to
visit Tokyo later this week to finalise arrangements.
of course remains to be seen whether the LTTE will attend the donor
conference after the government sends a constructive response to
Balasingham’s letter, but all indications were that the Tigers would
make their presence felt in the Land of the Rising Sun thereby holding
out a ray of hope for the revival of the peace process and with it the
potboiler for the south
demand by the Liberation Tigers for the immediate setting up of an
interim administrate in the north east “affording them legitimacy”
seems to have raised a hornet’s nest, though in truth, it is rather an
old demand accepted in principle by the two main political parties in
like the present weather conditions, the political climate too grew
bleak when the LTTE decided to unilaterally suspend peace talks in
April, piqued ostensibly by the US’ decision to exclude them from a
vital preparatory donor conference in Washington. While withdrawing, the
LTTE also blamed the government for its failure to implement decisions
reached at the discussion table and delays in resettling refugees.
this backdrop, Japan’s visiting special peace envoy Yasushi Akashi’s
attempts to convince the Tigers that their presence was vital at the
crucial Tokyo donor parley proved futile. Akashi sought to impress upon
the guerillas that if they were keen to demonstrate their interest in
playing a participatory role in rebuilding the north east, they should
reach Tokyo where over 40 countries would gather to pledge assistance to
rebuild Sri Lanka.
a while, it appeared that the Tigers would eventually return to the
table, pressurised as they were by the international community and their
own cash strapped situation. But, three weeks before the donor parley,
the guerillas are linking their possible presence in Tokyo to a previous
demand for an interim administration.
Leader Velupillai Pirapaharan last week formally requested visiting
Norwegian Foreign Minister Jan Petersen to initiate the establishment of
a “new and innovative structure for the northeast with adequate
authority and legal status for rapid implementation of humanitarian and
development activities.” On Thursday, Tiger Political Wing Leader S.P.
Tamilselvan declared that their presence in Tokyo would essentially
depend on “the government’s response to their suggestions that
should be concrete, trustworthy, honest and not based on verbal pledges
with regard to the setting up of an interim administration for the north
critical, he told the media in Kilinochchi that the government should go
beyond the parameters of the constitution and not be held prisoner by
it. “It would give our organisation legitimacy and authority over the
north east,” he added.
it would establish the LTTE’s authority or not, it appears that the
Tigers are demanding the space for ‘transition.’ The call for an
interim administration, however, seems to cause much heartburn to the
majority of the people who feel that the LTTE cannot be trusted as yet
and need to prove their credentials before they are allowed to exercise
administrative powers over two provinces. And such powers they feel
would effectively wipe out all other political expressions from the
north east landscape.
its own brand of diplomacy, the Tigers last week sought the Tamil
National Alliance’s (TNA) assistance to pursue the demand. A TNA group
met American Ambassador Ashley Wills on Thursday to explain that such an
interim administration was mandatory to effectively rebuild the war
ravaged areas and rehabilitate the displaced families.
group also briefed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on the outcome of
the talks they had with the LTTE leadership following it up by meetings
with envoys of Norway and Japan.
of the demand
to senior Tamil politicians, the call for an interim administration is
nothing new. “It was understood that we would have to look at such a
structure when the militant parties require a period for transition,”
says V. Anandasangaree.
should understand that a militant group that has not engaged in politics
would definitely require some time to transform itself from a military
movement into a political one,” asserts Lands Minister Dr. Rajitha
concept, according to Anandasangaree has been touted for at least 15
long years. Following talks
between Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and President J.R.
Jayewardene prior to the brokering of the Indo Lanka pact,
it was agreed that an interim administration could be set up,
which would be headed by the LTTE.
LTTE was supposed to nominate three persons as possible leaders and due
to some misunderstanding, it did not materialise,” asserts the TULF
need for such a structure was first recognised in the Indo Lanka Peace
Accord of 1987, under which the north east was temporarily merged.
in the sands of time, focus next fell on the issue of an interim set up
when President Chandrika Kumaratunga who came into office by pledging
extensive power sharing with the LTTE, offered the Tiger Leader 10 years
of self-rule in 1998.
to the Time Magazine of February 9, 1998, “she promised
Prabhakaran an autonomy package and also said if he stopped fighting he
could run the Northern Province, using his guerillas as a police force,
without having to face elections for up to 10 years.
She says the Tiger Chief did not respond.”
was bitterly attacked by the opposition UNP “for offering the north
east to terrorists on a platter then” and two years later, when
Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe offered an interim administration
to the LTTE for two years, the UNP was at the receiving end of a
vituperative government attack for “compromising sovereignty.”
it is interesting to note that Kumaratunga who called upon the Tigers to
“stop fighting,” when making the offer, did not urge them to give up
Minister Ranil Wickreme-singhe who offered an interim administration in
the UNF manifesto of 2001, reiterated that such a set up would be a
perfect threshing ground for the Tigers.
“We are willing to discuss extensive internal power sharing
without dividing the country. There is no compromise on the sovereignty
of our state. Presidents Premadasa and Kumara-tunga both attempted to
discuss core issues at the discussion table. We have to take the
discussion forward and in the near future, we should be able to discuss
the modalities on how to share power,” he noted.
a public rally following the Jana Bala Meheyuma (people power
campaign) in September 2002, he noted that President Kumaratunga had
offered a much longer administration to the guerillas.
the official positions of both the main political parties here, the
issue of sharing power has often posed a dilemma to the south who fail
to see it as a measure falling short of dividing the nation.
the Tamil political parties feel that the two main political parties
should reach a compromise on the matter soon. “There is no way that
they could back off now. It is what the PA leadership promised the Tamil
population earlier and now that the party is in opposition, they should
not attempt to go back on their word,” says General Secretary, TULF,
Chairman and Power and Energy Minister, Karu Jayasuriya told The
Sunday Leader that the LTTE should not link their participation at
the donor parley to the issue of an interim administration,
though the government definitely understood and accepted that the talks
would eventually lead to the establishment of such a set up.
Spokesman Dr. Sarath Amunugama who has been campaigning for extensive
power devolution as a means to end ethnic strife told The Sunday
Leader that the PA saw no reason to give into the demands of the
LTTE at this juncture.
cannot accept a settlement outside the present constitution. According
to the 13th Amendment, such a decision has to be taken by the President.
Therefore, the Prime Minister cannot take a decision single-handedly
even if he wished to,” he said.
defended the PA’s original offer of 10 years of self-rule, stating
that Kumaratunga merely “suggested” the creation of an interim
administration and any salient proposal she created would have fallen
well within the ambit of the constitution.
Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne sees this as a political move aimed at
whipping up communalism for political mileage. “There is no way for
either party to renounce its stance. We are committed to a position. But
there is no need to get excited as it is only a suggestion with
modalities yet to be worked out.”
Senaratne said that there were two schools of thought. Some feel that
presidential sanction is necessary to move the necessary legislation
while some believe cabinet sanction is adequate. “Many things need to
be worked out. But the Tigers should not link this to the Tokyo aid
conference,” he said.
not, seems to be the question raised by most Tamil politicians. “We
have pursued our cause with commitment. What is the purpose of attending
donor conferences to seek money to rebuild the north east, if we have no
measure of control over how the money is utilised in our areas?”
Sihala Urumaya, Tilak Karunaratne finds nothing original in the demand.
“Kumaratunga made her first pledge on those lines prior to the 1994
presidential elections and had this gazetted in August 1999.”
The election manifesto of the UNP in 1999 had Ranil Wickremesinghe
pledging a similar administration. After all these offers, the Tigers
are now demanding their pound of flesh, he noted.
rejects the entire concept as one that seeks to permanently divide the
country and a total sell out. The position of the Sihala Urumaya and the
Mahajana Eksath Peramuna are similar. They feel that the Tigers have
received much more from the peace process than what they have fought and
captured during 20 years of warfare.
other Tamil political parties like the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC)
remain noncommittal. “It is only at a demand stage. No discussions
have been held and decisions are not even thought of,” says Party
Leader, Minister Arumugam Thondaman.
member, Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam encapsulated the need for the south to
come together if the problem is to reach a final solution. “We believe that the request is not unfair.
There is a great need for the formalisation of such a set up if
we are to pursue rehabilitation and resettlement goals. After all,
nobody feels the pain as much as we do,” the parliamentarian said.
believes that such an administration could help streamline the present
structure such as the pradeshiya sabhas that exist in the
northeast. “Why should there be unnecessary fear? It is part of a
process of transition for the Tigers,” he asserted.
such, the Tamil politicians feel that there is a silver lining in the
seemingly hardcore stance adopted by the LTTE.
“The LTTE no longer believes in a military solution. As
reiterated by Tamilselvan at a recent media briefing, the Tigers no
longer feel that a military solution is feasible.”
are slowly passing that phase of militancy. The modalities should be
worked out for a set up that is acceptable both to the north and the
south, but this opportunity to transform themselves into politicians, a
chance we allowed the southern militants of the JVP, should be offered
to the Tigers as well,” said Minister Rajitha Senaratne.
agrees to interim administration
The ruling UNF declared its
official position on the interim administration in their 2001
The manifesto declared that “we will set up an interim
council in the north and east for a limited duration.”
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe addressing the final Jana
Bala Meheyuma rally at the Colombo Town Hall on September 9,
2002, declared that there indeed was a need to take up the issue
of setting up an interim administration by the LTTE in the north
“The LTTE has functioned as a military outfit and hence
demand an interim administration to complete its transition into a
political organisation. This is the thinking behind the demand for
an interim administration,” he said.
With no particular reference to the setting up of an interim
administration, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in his May Day
speech too reiterated that “any matter that does not seek to
divide Sri Lanka could be taken up at the discussion table.”