Rajapaksa re-stages 'APC drama' to avert pressure from Tamil Nadu - Samaraweera

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 14 October 2008, 01:15 GMT]
Leader of the dissident SLFP (M) Wing and a former Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka, Mangala Samaraweera in the Rajapaska government, charged Monday that the Sri Lankan President was engaged in re-staging 'All Party Conference' drama as agitations and protests were growing in Tamil Nadu state in India and Tamil Nadu politicians have formed broad alliances as never before against the war in Sri Lanka. Stating that Rajapaksa regime is bogged down in war with its "Unitary State," Mr. Mangala Samaraweera said there is absolutely no possibility of finding a political solution that could address the just grievances of the Tamil people within Rajapaksa's Unitary State and its 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

The former Foreign Minister has further challenged Mahinda Rajapaksa to table his political proposals to the society through the APC without delay, if he now believes military offensives don't solve the conflict.

Full text of the statement issued by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party - Mahajana Wing follows:

Media Release
13th October, 2008

If President believes in a political solution, a proposal must be tabled now

This country has been told many a times by President Rajapaksa that he is for a political solution and every time there after, the war escalated. This time, perhaps not for the last time, the President has told the All Party Conference (APC) held on the morning of 11th October that he believes military offensives are no solutions to the ethnic conflict and peace has to be achieved through a political solution.

We don't dispute that thought except for the fact that this APC was never an APC for the simple reason the major Tamil representation in parliament, the TNA has never been included, the main opposition, the UNP has absented from its deliberations and the JVP this time, refused to attend, calling it a bluff. It has always been convened and then ignored on the whim and fancy of the President.

The UN General Assembly, SL Aid Group meetings, the SAARC have all been publicity events for the President to convene the APC and the APRC during the past two years. As was evident before the 15th SAARC Summit Colombo in August, 2008 when this Rajapaksa government wanted India to pledge support to its war effort, the APRC was suddenly convened and the Indian proposal of implementing the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was proposed and promoted as the only viable solution. A special Committee of Ministers was formed to promote the proposal. With the departure of visiting Heads of States, the ministerial committee went into oblivion and the 13th Amendment to the Constitution lost its meaning even to the CM of the Eastern PC, Chandrakanthan alias Pilleyan.

This time seems no different. This time the Tamil Nadu politicians have formed broad alliances as never before against the war in Sri Lanka. Growing agitations and protests in TN demanding India to intervene in stopping what they call a 'genocide against Tamils in SL' has compelled the Man Mohan Singh government to intervene diplomatically. Meanwhile Pakistan, a close ally of this government is grappling with its own aggravating conflicts at home, compelling the Rajapaksa government to play close to India once again. But in India the evolving political scenario is anti-war. Thus another APC drama with talks about political solutions and by President himself.

This we say is a political ploy of the biggest order. The Rajapaksa regime is bogged down in war with its "Unitary State" and its pro-war Sinhala political allies. Within this unitary State and its 13th Amendment to the Constitution, there is absolutely no possibility of finding a political solution that could address the just grievances of the Tamil people. To find a worthy political solution needs a strong political commitment. This Rajapaksa regime did not have a political backbone to present even the APRC Experts' Committee proposal for at least a discussion within the APRC, although it was used to impress upon the Indian government, during President Rajapaksa's visit to Delhi.

Some learn lessons the hard and brutal way. If the Rajapaksa regime is one such regime and if the President now believes military offensives don't solve this conflict, then the President has to halt the war immediately and table his political proposals to the society through the APC. We are also amused to see all those APC representatives walking away without demanding for a set of political proposals on the basis of the Presidential address to them at the APC.

We therefore demand from the President to do so immediately, instead of acting out yet another tragi-comedy and pushing this country into a bloodier future.

 

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