Daily Archives: July 20, 2007
President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared yesterday that it was now up to the LTTE to decide between war and peace.
“War or peace, we are ready. It is in their hands. It is now up to the Tigers to decide which path they want to tread on,” President Rajapaksa told that in an exclusive interview centred on the Forces’ victory in Thoppigala and the Eastern Reawakening programme.
Responding to a question by on whether the Government intended to extend military action to the North in the aftermath of gaining total control over the East or whether it intends to negotiate with the LTTE from a position of strength, the President said the Government would act in accordence with the option that is chosen by the LTTE.
“We have never hesitated to negotiate and we never left the negotiating table. It was the LTTE which always abandoned talks midway. This happened in Geneva, Oslo and on many other occasions. It is the LTTE which has no desire for peace,” the President said.
He elaborated on the All Party Conference and the All Party Representative Committee processes which seek to evolve a consensual solution to the conflict.
“It will not be a proposal initiated by the Government alone. It will be a collective effort of all political parties. All political parties must make a healthy contribution to the APC and the APRC to make this a reality. They must not shirk this responsibility.”
Reiterating the Government’s commitment to a political solution, he however pointed out that the Government would never betray the nation in evolving such a solution, although the UNF regime demarcated and recognised so-called ‘Tiger-controlled’ areas under the Ceasefire Agreement.
He said the fall of Thoppigala, the last Tiger bastion in the East, marked not only the total domination of the East by the Security Forces and the Government, but also a new era for the people of the East who were oppressed by the LTTE.
He attributed the success of the humanitarian operation in the East to correct political as well as military leadership.
“Our immediate priority is establishing civil administration in the area. We will develop infrastructure facilities, health, education and welfare measures. Later on we will be holding local and provincial elections so that Easterners can elect their own representatives. Such democratic rights were stifled by the LTTE.”
The Eastern Reawakening programme which begins today will address all these issues, he added.
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