Thursday, January 03, 2008

Sri Lanka: Statement by the Sri Lankan Government to end Cease Fire Agreement

Source: The Media Centre For National Security

The Cabinet of Ministers of the Sri Lanka Government at a cabinet meeting held last night (02), unanimously approved a Cabinet memorandum submitted by the Honourable Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake to end the Cease Fire Agreement with only just over a month remaining to complete six years since it became effective on 22 February 2002.

The Government Defence Spokesman, Honourable Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told the media :" The Government decided to officially withdraw from the Ceasefire Agreement since it is futile to continue with the Ceasefire with no indication that the LTTE is willing to enter the pace path". According to the Hon. Min, the Government had considered the number of Ceasefire violations by the LTTE since 2002. He said :" The Ceasefire had been violated by the LTTE more than 10,000 times . The Cabinet decision will be put into practice by using the terms and conditions of the Ceasefire Agreement itself". According to the Ceasefire Agreement, either party should give two weeks notification prior to withdrawal from the Ceasefire Agreement.

The Ceasefire Agreement became effective on 22 February 2002 when the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe signed the Agreement as a prelude to resolve the Northeast problem peacefully. There were six rounds of "peace talks" under the then government. The first was held in Thailand from 16th - 18th September 2002 while the last was held in Japan from 18th - 21st March 2003. The Agreement collapsed after six rounds of talks.

The peace talks" were revived again and two rounds of talks were held in Geneva in 2006 after President Mahinda Rajapksa came into power in 2005. The Hon.Min Rambukwella stated that:" The peace process was again revived after President Mahinda Rajapaksa came to power in 2005 and LTTE continued its terror acts showing no commitment to the Ceasefire". Over 264 servicemen were killed without any provocation during this period and the talks faced inevitable collapse.

The Honurable Minister Keheliya Rambukwella added :" The Ceasefire was almost abandoned by the LTTE during this period continuing with its terror activities and the decision to officially withdraw from the Ceasefire was taken considering this aspect ".

Yesterday (02), LTTE terrorists targeted a bus carrying sick soldiers to the Military Hospital, Colombo at the busy Save Island junction around 9.30 in the morning. Four were killed including a soldier who was in the bus. Two school boys aged 19 and 16 and their aunt aged 42 who were walking on the road were also killed . 14 including ten soldiers, 4 civilians including a female were injured.

An article in the Daily News ( 28) titled " War against terrorism , toward a new dimension" it was stated that the Government was " contemplating banning the LTTE" adding that the President has stated " one or more attacks , we have no option" .

Disclaimer: This report is published for information and does not necessarily reflect the views of Mike Hitchen Consulting