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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2730

President Rajapakse Talks Frankly on CFA Abrogation, Military versus Political Options and APRC

By Ruwan Weerakoon from Colombo

Colombo, 23 January, (Asiantribune.com): President Mahinda Rajapakse commenting on the two most talked of issues affecting Sri Lanka, namely - the recommendations of the ARPC and the abrogation of the cease fire agreement, told the media yesterday that looking for the recommendations from the APRC for a political solution was not a cover-up for a military approach; neither was the abrogation of the cease fire agreement a hasty decision.Mahinda Rajapakse: "The decision to abrogate the Ceasefire Agreement with the LTTE was not a hasty decision. I have always been opposed to it."Mahinda Rajapakse: "The decision to abrogate the Ceasefire Agreement with the LTTE was not a hasty decision. I have always been opposed to it."

He added “I am against a military solution. I have never been for a military solution. I have been and will always want a political solution. However, when it comes to terrorism, I think it is necessary to defeat it. I do not believe, as some seem to do, that some terrorists are good. There are no good terrorists and bad terrorists, all of them are terrorists. Giving reasons why the cease fire agreement with the LTTE was abrogated told the media that he had waited patiently for two years since the Presidential Election, hoping that the government would be able to have serious negotiations with the LTTE.

He added that “the decision to abrogate the Ceasefire Agreement with the LTTE was not a hasty decision. I have always been opposed to it. I moved the Adjournment Motion in Parliament against it on March 04, 2002, within a month of it being signed. I told the country would abrogate it in the Presidential Election campaign.

I have consistently opposed it. The only difference was that I waited patiently for two years since the Presidential Election, hoping we would be able to have serious negotiations with the LTTE. The final decision to abrogate it was taken only after the LTTE showed it would continue to kill civilians to achieve it goal through terrorism, enjoying the advantages it had from the CFA" said President Mahinda Rajapakse speaking to the Media at "Temple Trees" today

The President went on to state that Mr. Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena of the UNP, who responded to him from the Government of the day in support of the CFA, was today a Minister, who also agreed with the decision to abrogate the CFA.

Answering questions as to why he had rushed to abrogate the CFA at this stage, President Rajapaksa said that far from acting in haste he had made a public statement at Matara on December 26 last year, after some civilians had been killed by the LTTE at Weli Oya that any more killings of civilians would lead to the abrogation of the CFA. However, the LTTE had assassinated Mr. T. Maheswaran MP on January 1, this year. The next day it had killed some students in the bomb attack at Kompannaweediya (Slave Island) in Colombo. It was then it became clear that the LTTE was moving according to a pattern of killing civilians, which led to the Government deciding it was time to abrogate the CFA.

Speaking to the Media on current political developments the President said he was awaiting the recommendations of the All Party Representative Committee (APRC), who are due to submit them to him today (23 January). When pressed, whether the search for recommendations from the APRC for a political solution was a cover for the military solution the government sought by abrogating the CFA, President Rajapakse said that was a totally incorrect position. "I am against a military solution. I have never been for a military solution. I have been and will always want a political solution. However, when it comes to terrorism, I think it is necessary to defeat it. I do not believe, as some seem to do, that some terrorists are good. There are no good terrorists and bad terrorists, all of them are terrorists.

He said there were some who said that the LTTE were good terrorists. They wanted to believe that the LTTE were engaged in liberation activity. But when it came to Al Qaeda they were not good. All of them were fighting for some cause. But that did not make their terrorism any better. Whether in London or anywhere else terrorists were the same. There should be no double standards about dealing with terrorists, whether in Colombo or London. "No one can be won over by killing people. That has been my stand from the beginning", he said.

President Rajapakse said the 13th Amendment was a way of approaching a solution to the situation in Sri Lanka, as it was already part of the law. It was unfortunate that all provisions of the 13th Amendment had not been implemented. There will be the need to persuade others to implement it in full. This was his personal view. One must know why all of its provisions had not been fully implemented so far.

It was also necessary to understand that the LTTE opposed the 13th Amendment and stood in the way of its implementation. As a result of the LTTE the people of the North and East were not able to enjoy whatever benefits this Amendment offered.

The President said he did not believe any solutions could be imposed on the people. He recalled how the proposals for Constitutional change presented by President Kumaratunge had been burnt in Parliament, and how the LTTE rejected the 13th Amendment at the time it was first proposed. "Any proposals we make will be for the Tamil people. It will be for the minorities - the Tamils, Muslims and Burgers and the Sinhalese, too. No one should be left out," he said

He said there will be many obstacles to far-reaching amendments to the Constitution at this stage. Therefore, it was more realistic to try and see how what is already provided could be best implemented.

President Rajapakse said he was keen to see the people of the North and East manage their own affairs as provided by the law. This would be possible in the East very soon. Already arrangements were being made for the local government elections there. Very soon the Provincial Council will also be established in the East. He was keen to establish the Provincial Council in the North too, but it had to be cleared of terrorists first.

Responding to a question about his reactions to the proposal made by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on his visit to India, about intensified cooperation against terrorism in all countries in Asia, President Rajapakse said he welcomed this proposal, and that Sri Lanka had all along stood for the widest possible agreements and understanding on common and coordinated action against terrorism.

- Asian Tribune -

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