LTTE de-ban will not dilute military capability — GL

De-proscription of the LTTE within Sri Lanka will have no impact on the military capability of the country’s defence forces to "protect the territorial integrity, the sovereignty and the independence of Sri Lanka," said Prof. G. L Peiris, government spokesman, in England this week.

"There is no connection between the two things at all," Prof. Peiris said in an address on ‘The Peace Process in Sri Lanka: challenges and opportunities,’ arranged under the auspices of the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS). President of the RCS and the former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Chief Imeka Anyaku, chaired the lecture.

"De-proscription does not mean that the military capability of the armed forces will be diminished or diluted in any way," he elaborated. "De-proscription is being done on the assumption that the talks will begin shortly and that they will move forward smoothly; that there will be bona fides and that there will be genuine commitment to the pursuit of a political solution. It is in the context of that expectation that the de-proscription would be agreed to by the government in power in Sri Lanka."

Prof. Peiris, who arrived in UK on Sunday, continued that de-proscription of the LTTE within Sri Lanka would have no connection to the actions taken by other governments and said, "the action on the part of Sri Lanka does not in any way mean or imply that these countries — the US, UK and India — will lift the ban in their own jurisdiction." "Action taken by those countries is predicated upon the legislative provisions which are enforced in those countries and proscription and de-proscription are matters which will be looked at by those countries in the setting of their own policy requirements and priorities."

Commenting on impending talks in Thailand, Prof. Peiris emphasised that this was not a mere repetition of previous attempts. "We believe that the role of a well-meaning and professionally competent third party is not merely helpful or desirable but indeed indispensable," he stressed.

"Unlike the previous administration, the government of Ranil Wickremesinghe does not believe that there is any value in formulating the detailed constitutional structures prior to agreement being reached with the LTTE on the fundamentals of the proposed constitutional instrument."

"The government is now looking very closely at structures of asymmetrical devolution of power," he added. "The conviction of the present government is that the degree of devolved power must be connected with the needs of those areas, the reality of the ground situation."

Peiris stressed that, "there is no guarantee of success, there is no certainty."

"But we have every reason to believe that given commitment, dedication, thorough preparation, understanding on all sides, certain degree of flexibility and compromise, we can achieve our objectives."

"This time round, peace is within our reach."