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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 78

New Sri Lankan president confronts same impasse

[b]New Sri Lankan president confronts same impasse as predecessor[/b]

By Wije Dias – World Socialist Web Site

Less than a week after forming his new cabinet, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse met with senior foreign diplomats in Colombo on November 28 to try to dispel unease over his policies. The central issue is the new government’s attitude toward the ceasefire agreement signed with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2002 and the fate of the peace process that has stalled for more than two years.

Rajapakse rode to power on an election platform charged with chauvinism and economic nationalism. Much of his election manifesto, entitled Mahinda Chintana (Mahinda’s Vision), reflected the program of his electoral partners—the Sinhala extremist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU). Both the JVP and the JHU have condemned the ceasefire agreement as a betrayal of Sri Lankan sovereignty and rejected the peace talks with the LTTE as a device to divide the country and create a separate Tamil state.

In his address to the foreign diplomats, however, Rajapakse sought to play down fears of a return to war. "I reaffirm my government’s commitment to continue the ceasefire. I hope the LTTE will heed the call of the people in Sri Lanka and the international community, by fully complying with the ceasefire," he said.

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