JVP slams govt over agreeing to discuss LTTE proposals

by Shamindra Ferdinando
The JVP on Sunday slammed the UNF government for agreeing to discuss the so-called LTTE counter proposal, which envisages an LTTE-run Interim Self-Governing Authority (ISGA) authorised to raise taxes, maintain law and order, control internal and external trade, negotiate foreign loans and the absolute control over marine and offshore resources of the adjacent seas and the power to regulate access.

"It is not an interim arrangement," JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva told a press conference at the SLFI, adding that it would definitely lead to the division of the country on ethnic lines. He is convinced that there is no point in even discussing the LTTE proposal which does not even mention de-commissioning of their arms.

What they have sought is not a federal state but a separate state in the island of Sri Lanka, he said. Interestingly there was no mention of Tamils living outside the North and East. The LTTE has specifically said that the proposed arrangements cover Tamils living in the North and East and there was no mention whatsoever of Tamil speaking people living in the North and East.

The LTTE proposal came in response to a power-sharing plan offered by the government on July 17. The government’s chief negotiator G.L. Peiris, while acknowledging sharp disparities between the government’s proposal and the LTTE’s counter-proposal, offered to discuss the issues arising from both sets of proposals.

The UNF’s spineless handling of the peace process gave the LTTE strength, he said. The LTTE would not have brazenly sought to take over the north-east if the government did not allow the LTTE to take advantage of a cease-fire agreement reached in February last year.

The General Secretary and parliamentary group leader Wimal Weerawansa believe the LTTE proposal is in conflict with the recent Indo-Lanka joint statement. In the statement issued on October 21, Premier Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe said that they expected that the response to the Sri Lanka’s proposal ‘will be reasonable and comprehensive. They also said that ‘any interim arrangement should be an integral part of the final settlement and should be in the framework of the unity and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka. They also agreed that an ‘enduring solution has to emerge purely through internal political process.

JVP parliamentarians Nandana Gunatilake, Vijitha Herath and Ramalingam Chandrasekeran were also present.

The JVP ridiculed the LTTE proposal to have elections in five years conducted by an independent election commission set up by the LTTE-dominated ISGA. The LTTE has offered to accommodate government and Muslim representatives.

The LTTE wants to take over law and order, revenue and taxes, control over state land and all civil administration matters currently exercised by the government through a system of provincial councils. The group also wants to prepare annual budgets, negotiate and receive direct foreign funding, including loans.

They have the audacity to propose all government spending in the north-east should be channelled through the ISGA and foreign funding, including the World Bank administered North-East Reconstruction Fund (NERF), to be brought under the control of the ISGA.

Weerawansa pointed out that the LTTE’s bid gain power to borrow internally and externally, provide guarantees and indemnities, receive aid directly and engage in or regulate internal and external trade would result in serious problems.

The JVP slammed people funded by foreign NGOs for supporting the planned division of the country. "They are prepared to do anything for dollars," Weerawansa said, urging journalists to do their duty without fear.