|Commitment to a political solution reiterated in the aftermath of LTTE proscription|
|Friday, 09 January 2009 11:59|
Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has emphasized that the Government does not believe in a military solution to address the genuine grievances of the minority communities in Sri Lanka. On the contrary, it is firmly committed to a political solution in finding answers to these issues, which should be done in a spirit of give and take by all democratic forces in the country. The Minister made these remarks, while addressing the diplomatic corps based in Colombo at the Foreign Ministry today (08 January 2009).
Speaking further at this inaugural diplomatic briefing, Minister Bogollagama set out some of the reasons that had necessitated the Government’s decision yesterday to proscribe the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), inter alia, the acts of terrorism and other acts of violence perpetrated by the LTTE and its orchestrated campaign to collect funds to commit acts of terrorism and its activities relating to the procurement or smuggling of arms, ammunition and explosives, had the potential of adversely affecting international and regional peace and the security and law and order of other sovereign nations. He added that the decision by India to proscribe the LTTE and renew the ban periodically also stems from the threat that the LTTE poses to the territorial integrity of India.
The Minister referred to the repeated calls by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the LTTE to renounce terrorism and come to the negotiating table. However, the LTTE spurned all these pleas and continued to persist on the path of unbridled violence and terrorism, causing massive loss of innocent lives and destruction of property.
Even as late as 22nd December 2008, the President urged the LTTE to release the innocent Tamil people that it was holding hostage in the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts as a human shield, or face a ban. He issued his final ultimatum last Friday (02nd January 2009), in his address to the nation, when he said “I also wish to send a message, the final message to the LTTE to lay down their arms and surrender”.
Minister Bogollagama, commending the Statement of the US Embassy in Colombo issued in the aftermath of the fall of Kilinochchi, pointed out that the US Government does not advocate that the Government of Sri Lanka negotiate with the LTTE, a group which has been designated by the US since 1997 as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. It is the firm conviction of the Government that the proscription of the LTTE will herald a new beginning for Sri Lanka, which will enable the authentic voices of the Tamil people in this country to be heard for the first time, without being subject to their violent suppression by the LTTE.
The Foreign Minister vehemently condemned the murder of the prominent media personality and Editor of The Sunday Leader, Lasantha Wickrematunga today. He denounced the killing unreservedly and said that the Government will leave no stone unturned to pursue the perpetrators of this heinous crime and will seek to bring them to justice. The Minister expressed his heartfelt condolences to the members of the bereaved family. He also strongly denounced the recent attack by an unidentified armed gang on the studio complex and the Main Control Room of the MTV/MBC Network, stating that a free and independent media is an integral part of the democratic framework of the country, and that the Government is determined to conduct a thorough probe into this attack, in order to apprehend the culprits and bring them to book.
The diplomatic briefing was followed by a media conference. Foreign Secretary, Dr. Palitha Kohona and senior officials of the Ministry were present on the occasion.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
08 January 2009