Snared in Eelam trap - set in Oslo, clamped tight in Tokyo
But the real catch lies not in the utilisation, geographical spread, or repayment of aid, important though these are. A memorable slogan used by Clinton in his first campaign for the Presidency comes to mind. He had a sign prominently displayed at campaign headquarters reading, "It’s the economy, stupid." Before we get hysterical about the Tokyo jamboree, we need to put up a sign that reads, "It’s the conditions, stupid."
US Deputy Secretary of State Armitage sounded an early warning. A Reuter report from Tokyo, cited in The Island of June 11, quoted Armitage at the final session: "For Sri Lankans, there is a price to pay. The price of our faith in you is your progress towards peace. " Fair enough, you may say. We all want peace. What’s wrong with that?
What’s wrong is that the donors’ concept of peace, laid down in the Tokyo Declaration spells the end of sovereign Sri Lanka. As a participant and beneficiary in the talks, the GOSL is bound by the Tokyo Declaration. Let us elaborate.
The lethal sting in every round of peace talks has been tucked away in the official releases, which few people read, content instead with headline hoopla. Let us see what the Tokyo Declaration has to say about our "progress towards peace", which Armitage warned was the price Sri Lankans have to pay.
Exploring the Tokyo Declaration
After some preliminary waffle and fiction, including the mandatory homage to "the able facilitation by Norway" (for which read "the able implementation by Norway of our directions"), the donors get to specifics, expressing the international community’s to support the establishment ... of the necessary administra tive structure for the effective reconstruction and development of the North and East." The donors support, without qualification, the illegal structure the LTTE is pressing for.
Then comes the donors’ foray into the field of a negotiated settlement "The Conference commands both parties for their commitment to a lasting and negotiated peace hased on a federal structure within a united Sri Lanka." Federation is the name of the donors’ game, again without qualification.
Questions arise. What commitment, if any, can the GOSL validly make to revolutionise the structure of Sri Lanka, without obtaining prior approval from Parliament, in the teeth of strong southern opposition to federation, seen as a stepping-stone to Eelam? And with the flaunting by the LTTE of institutions and symbols of Eelam (banks, police, customs, immigration, the Tamil Eelam map and scarves bestowed on Akashi and the EU pilgrims to the Wanni), and their open contempt for the laws of Sri Lanka, who could believe that the LTTE is committed to a lasting federal structure within a united Sri Lanka?
Just Do It
The Declaration returns to the IA issue via humanitarian relief: "The international community ... [encourages/ the parties to reach agreement on an innovative administrative structure for the reconstruction and development of the North and Fast." The word "innovative" is one of the LTTE’s latest code words. Balasingham used it in his letter of May 21 to Norway’s Helgesen, in referring to Prabakaran’s suggestion for "a new innovative structure for the Northeast .."; and followed by urging a radical new constitution, and the superseding of "a multiplicity of existing structures", signalling that by "innovative" the LTTE means "outside the present constitution", i.e., illegal.
Staying with humanitarians assistance, the Declaration goes on: The Conference emphasises the need for flexibility by the GOSL and the LTTE in accepting, various forms of assistance... " "Flexibility" is another new LTTE code word, used by Norway’s Prime Minister, who, before the Tokyo jamboree, insolently urged the GOSL to be flexible in meeting the LTTE’s demands so as to get the talks going again.
Everyday Words, Loaded Meanings
The LTTE specialises in the use of everyday words which they have packed with extra meanings. By adopting LTTE terms, the donors supported the LTTE in pressurising the GOSL to do what it takes to met their demands, and never mind constitutional niceties.
The Noose Tightens
The noose tightens in the section titled "Progress of the Peace Process": "Donors remind the GOSL and the LTTE .. to make their utmost efforts to further promote the peace process founded upon the principles reflected in the Oslo Declaration. " What are these principles? The official record of the Oslo peace talks of December 2-5, 2002 (now being termed the Oslo Declaration) records: "Responding to a proposal by... the LTTE, the parties agreed to explore a solution founded on the principle of internal self-determination in areas of historical habitation of the Tamil-speaking peoples, based on a federal structure within a united Sri Lanka...." So the donors want our "utmost efforts" directed towards self-determination, Tamil homelands, and a federal structure.
Forget the sham of "internal" self-determination and "united" Sri Lanka. The aim is a federal Northeast unit which could declare an UDI of Eelam whenever it chose.
Dollars for Peace
The Tokyo Declaration’s penultimate section titled "Linkage between Donor Support and Progress in the Peace Process" includes the essence of the Tokyo deal.
First, aid will depend on movement towards the Eelam stepping-stone: "Assistance... must be closely linked to substantial... progress in the peace process towards ..the objectives agreed upon by the parties in Oslo. " Note here a trick which smells of Balasingham and Solheim. In Oslo, in December 2002, the GOSL and LTTE agreed to explore an LTTE proposal. In the current quotation, the Tokyo Declaration refers to "objectives agreed upon by the parties in Oslo " No such agreement was announced.
Second, the donors "encourage" the GOSL and the LTTE to discuss "a provisional administrative structure to manage the reconstruction and development aspects of the transition process." Here is the Interim Administration, another stepping-stone to Eelam, in camouflage.
Third, one of the milestones the donors will review will be "Parallel progress towards a final political settlement based on the principles of the Oslo Declaration. " The donors have moved from "utmost efforts" to actual progress towards Eelam within one page.
What has been achieved in Tokyo? The GOSL has been promised US$ 4.5 billion in the period 2003-2006, but the aid will be closely linked to several conditions, the most important of which are that we proceed to measures - interim administration, the grant of self-determination to the "Tamil Homelands", and a federal structure - which will inevitably lead to the separate state of Tamil Eelam which we have resisted for two decades.
By internationalising our internal affairs, we have cooked our goose in the presence of 51 countries and 22 international organisations. The LTTE, by contrast, boycotted the conference, repudiated its conclusions, and did not receive even a slap on the wrist from the donors, all of whom are probably terrified of them!
It was ironic that the last rites were administered in Japan, whose postwar revival was advanced by the magnanimous speech renouncing reparations made at the San Francisco Peace Conference by J.R. Jayewardene, then our Finance Minister. The resulting goodwill led to lavish assistance to Sri Lanka. Fifty years on, Japan has new interests and priorities, and Sri Lanka has regressed. No surprise then that Akashi, in his concluding remarks in Tokyo, echoed LTTE demands for "an innovative administrative structure.." Ah so!
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