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Sri Lanka crisis in new perspective

New Delhi, Sat, 05 Jan 2008 Vikash Ranjan

Jan 05:  A mine blast on army vehicle in Sri Lanka this time triggered abrogation of six years old Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) between the Sri Lanka Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, LTTE. In the wake of continuing violence and the escalation of endless hostilities, Sri Lankan government forced to terminate the ceasefire, looking it as of no positive consequence.

The Sri Lankan government decision that the Ceasefire agreement with the LTTE brokered by the Norwegian government came to an end from January 2 was the consequence of killing of four persons and injuries of 28 others in an attack on army vehicle by the suspected LTTE.

Subsequently, thirty observers from Norway and Iceland who had been monitoring a failed peace process in Sri Lanka have been ordered to leave the troubled country within 12 days.

As per the figures available till April 2007 the LTTE has violated the agreement 3,830 times and the government 351 times. This figure itself shows that CFA has reduced to the status of meaningless paper.

Not only that since July 2006 when the LTTE blocked the waterway in the east, the hostilities was so sharp that the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) had stopped issuing ruling on the violations for over a year now. Reason! As reported by the SLMM that the scale of violations was so high that it became just impossible to effectively monitor the situation.

Preview on CFA

The government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had signed the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) on February 22, 2002 for the purpose of reaching a negotiated solution to the country's ethnic conflict.

Subsequently, Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) came into existence as an integral part of the CFA after the two parties agreed to give mandate for its formation. According to the CFA the head of the SLMM was to be the final authority on the interpretation of the Agreement.

Both the party, GOSL and LTTE had committed themselves to cooperate with the SLMM.

Prelude of the CFA

Article 3.5 of the CFA said that its members would be constituted from Nordic countries. Presently there were thirty members, out of which 20 from Iceland and 10 from Norway. SLMM has headquarters in Colombo, six District Offices, and a Liaison Office in Killinochchi.

The objective of the CFA was to find a negotiated solution to the ongoing ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka and to serve as a means of communication between the parties.

Mutual agreement of both the parties was essential for any amendment in CFA. However till date no amendments were made.

Despite the escalating conflict both the parties GOSL and the LTTE agreed not to let go the SLMM out of the country rather remain in the country as caretaker of the CFA.

5 years of CFA

Last 15 months not less than 4000 innocent people had lost their lives in the violence triggered between the state army and the LTTE. Many people had got serious injuries and thousands of families had to leave their houses from areas of fighting. While three years back less than 130 deaths owing to conflict were recorded.

LTTE stands for

Liberation of Tamil Tigers Eelam (LTTE) is a rebel organisation fighting for an independent Tamil state in North and East Sri Lanka for over 2 decades. This group came into limelight when former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in 1991. India and Norway are playing peace envoys between Sri Lankan Government and LTTE for resolving the ongoing crisis.

Sri Lankan government's views

Gotabhaya Yajapaksa, the Defence Secretary and brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that CFA had become irrelevant.

He further said, “Once you sign a Peace Agreement and then you come to the next Ceasefire Agreement or whatever agreement you must abolish the other one. It had never happened.� Further said, "We should not give solutions to the LTTE which is a terrorist organisation. The LTTE is just a part of the Tamil people and solutions should be given to the Tamil people,"

Although the Sri Lankan President prior to coming into power vowed to scrap CFA, but continued owing to enhanced pressure by global community. But, on 2 nd January annulled the agreement by saying that it had become impossible to go forward with the agreement. However, he did not impose ban on LTTE.

The Ceasefire Agreement exists only on paper. Obviously we can see that there is no ceasefire. It has become a joke.

International Community's views

Norway too regretted the decision, as it will only escalate the hostilities between the two parties, GOSL and LTTE. On the other side, the US and UK urged for the political solution to halt the violence and bring peace in Sri Lanka . The US said ending the ceasefire agreement would make it more difficult to achieve a lasting, peaceful solution to Sri Lanka's conflict.

Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary General too regret the decision made by the government of Sri Lanka to terminate the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement with the LTTE.

India and Sri Lanka

India must help Sri Lanka actively to free itself from terrorism and extremism of LTTE, but whatever decision India take, should be thought profoundly and appropriately considering all its pros and cons, as earlier we have seen the consequence of haste participation in Sri Lanka's internal problem in the form of Rajeev Gandhi's assassination. Because national security for India comes first, other necessity and obligation comes later.

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Shantha Gamlath

January 5, 2008 at 12:00 AM

At the movement, India should be draw their attention to Sri lankan situation becouse it is a highly important factor that will caused India interest of region in term of regional security. As a big power, as well as brotherhood country, cant pro -give this situation in their regional political and security prospectives. On the other hand, India have been facing political impact on the sri lankan problem in past two - three decades.It has influenced to internal politics of the India. Beside, other countries in South Asia that has considerable trust and good faith with their elder brotherhood . So, As a regional power India has a good role in South Asia to closed any vacuum for external factor which will be involved in the region. otherwise it will caused to India national and regional policies in their interests.


January 5, 2008 at 12:00 AM

many people mix the tamil issues with terrorism,i m a tamil living in colombo.LTTE has no genuine peace motives,they are just a group of thugs making a living out of the war.they dont stand any opposition views,and if you are a liberal tamil,they would just shoot you down.what LTTE does during ceasefires is buy more weapons and regroup ,to keep the war dragging on longer.there is a good tamil representation in the government,now its their chance to show what they can do.



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