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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2647

Dr. G.L.Peiris warns the west aid cut to democratically elected nations could strengthen hand of terrorism

By Walter Jayawardhana

Washington DC, 02 July, (Asiantribune.com): Sri Lanka’s Minister of International Trade and Export Development Dr. G. L. Peiris who flew to Washington DC and Ottawa to brief US and Canadian leaders about Sri Lanka’s policies of dealing with the separatists of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) severely warned Western countries that cutting aid to democratically elected governments could be extremely counter productive in eradicating terrorism from the world.

“Poverty will inhibit implementation of peace process. There must be activities of production for tranquility to return. This requests resources and cutting aid is extremely counter productive,” he told this correspondent in an interview minutes before he left for home from the Maryland residence of his brother in law Ranjith Salgado where he was staying during his US stay. He said in fact such cuts could strengthen the hand of terrorism.

He was articulating on these lines in his discussions with US Asst. Secretary Richard Boucher on the eve of Boucher’s departure to Oslo for the meeting of co-chairs of the Sri Lanka aid giving countries and elected officials like US congressmen and said there was empathy on the part of the Western countries to Sri Lanka’s plight on the issue.

He said economic deprivation is going to make a peace process much more difficult than it needs to be and reportedly told this to the US and Canadian leaders.

Touching on the issue of cutting aid on human rights issues Peiris said Sri Lanka has appointed the IIGPA, a board of internationally renown persons headed by former Indian Chief Justice Bhagwathi ,to look into the whole system of government including justice, to investigate any alleged violation of human rights and called it a step no other sovereign nation has ever allowed. “We are not shying away from visibility and exposure,” he said.

Dr. G. L. Peiris who led talks at previous peace negotiations at Bangkok and other places and played a key role in a failed peace agreement admitted the negotiations failed and said it was due to attempt to discuss peace at a higher level that did not converge with the community. “There was no popular support. To implement there should be change of attitude in the society.”
Dr. Peiris said there must be no lurking fear in the minds of the Sinhalese civilians that they are vulnerable to the attacks of the Tamil Tigers before any political compromise could be worked out. In short he said a feeling of security should be established in their minds.

He said a series of attempts have been made under governments of different complexities and they were made before establishing ground conditions for the implementation of political proposals. But he said now the government has invited Von Hansen Bauer of Norway to revive the peace process. “Political initiatives are an integral part in this peace process,” he said. But he emphasized that there should be a military response to terrorism and there is no contradiction whatsoever in that policy that a political process is necessary.

He said he argued with the US and Canadian leaders and pointed out that the complexities of the problem should be understood. “I argued against the use of aid as a weapon to exert pressure on a democratically elected governments grappling with terrorism. It will unwittingly strengthen the hand of terrorism,” he said.

Question: You are supposed to be a friend of Britain. But the whole movement of the LTTE was basically operated from the Eelam House in London. Millions of Pounds have been collected to operate terrorism in Sri Lanka. As a symbolic gesture for the first time two people were arrested only a week ago. How do you respond to that?

Answer: Many Western nations are finding out the perils of terrorism are also affecting their countries. Canada has just announced heavy and commendable financial restrictions that would curtail terrorist funding and money laundering. Both Britain and US are realizing terrorism is a global phenomenon. The recent events in Piccadilly Circus and Glasgow in Britain have brought home the immediacy and gravity of the situation and the fact all these terrorist acts are interconnected.

Question: It has been alleged that the Tamil Tigers were using negotiating table as another battle ground to buy time. Is there any truth in that?

Answer: This time there should have to be sequence or time frame. It has got to be a structured effort. Priorities have to be established. Co issues have to be identified. It has got to be confined to a time space. We cannot have discussions indefinitely.

- Asian Tribune -

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