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 Home > Tamil Eelam Struggle for FreedomInternational Frame & the Struggle for Tamil Eelam > United Kingdom > Britain can play a larger role in  peace process by reaching out to the Tamil Tigers at 'lower levels' - Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona  

united kingdom
& the Struggle for Tamil Eelam

Britain can play a larger role in  peace process
by reaching out to the Tamil Tigers at 'lower levels'
Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona

M.R. Narayan Swamy, IANS
(Indo-Asian News Service, a New Delhi based wire service)
19 March 2007

[see also M.R.Narayan Swamy - Inside an Elusive Mind - Prabhakaran,
The first and the fibbing biography on the LTTE Leader - Sachi Sri Kantha and
  UK : �there can be no military solution alone to the conflict.",14 March 2007]

New Delhi, 19 March 2007

Monkey Tricks?

Sri Lanka, bogged down by an undeclared war, feels Britain can play a larger role in the now derailed peace process by reaching out to the Tamil Tigers at 'lower levels', a top official said Monday. Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona, however, said Britain would not replace Norway, which brokered a ceasefire between Colombo and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2002 but is now not in the good books of the regime of President Mahinda Rajapakse.

Asked if Britain was trying to become a major actor in the Sri Lankan peace process, Kohona referred to Rajapakse's meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair last summer and told IANS: 'Britain could play a larger role.'

Kohona made it clear that Norway would continue to 'have a role to play' to see if Colombo and the LTTE could return to the negotiating table.

In an oblique criticism of Norway, he said Britain was expected to have 'greater understanding of and much more familiarity with Sri Lanka' because of its historic relations with the island nation. Asked how Britain could help, Kohona, considered a confidant of President Rajapakse, answered: 'While every effort had been made in the past to reach out to the LTTE hierarchy, no effort had been made to reach out to the lower levels of LTTE support base.'

Comment by tamilnation.org "...Sir Robert Thompson, the British expert who studied anti-guerrilla operations in Malaya ...felt that "there should be a proper balance between the military and the civil effort" as otherwise, he feared "a situation will arise in which military operations produce no lasting results because they are unsupported by civil follow-up actions." According to these American and British specialists, the ideal combination of repression and concession was represented by the policies of President Magsaysay, who successfully quelled the Communist-Huk rebellion in the Philippines in the early 1950s. Famous for his policy of "all out force and all out friendship", Magsaysay used 'force' in the shape of ruthless suppression against the Communist rebels and their landless peasant followers, and 'friendship' in the shape of some land reforms and concessions directed towards the middle and rich peasants and the petty bourgeoisie..." Sumanta Banerjee in India's Simmering Revolution, 1984

The British efforts, he underlined, would go parallel with whatever Norway does. 'Norwegians have a role to play (as facilitator),' said Kohona, who also heads the Sri Lankan government's Peace Secretariat. He added that all countries including the US, Britain and European Union backed Norway's facilitator role. Kohona is here along with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama to meet Indian government and opposition leaders. They arrived late Sunday from the US and are set to return to Colombo Tuesday evening.

This is their second visit to New Delhi in less than two months. Accompanied by Kohona, Bogollagama came to India Jan 31 soon after taking charge of the foreign ministry. Kohana, who worked for the Australian foreign ministry before President Rajapakse invited him to return to Sri Lanka, insisted that no country had the right to treat Colombo and LTTE at par.

'There is no room for treating the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government as equals. Sri Lanka is a sovereign state. The LTTE is a terrorist group, operating within the Sri Lankan state. There is no room for them to be equals.'



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