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Direct discussions between President Rajapaksa and TNA leader Sampanthan to revive talks end in failure

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by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Direct discussions beween Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Tamil National Alliance(TNA) leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan to revive stalled talks between the ruling regime and the TNA ended in failure.

Leader of Tamil National Alliance Mr. R. Sampanthan called President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees on February 21-Pic by : Chandana Perera-news.lk

A meeting held at “Temple Trees” on Tuesday February 21st between the President and the senior TNA Trincomalee district MP aimed at breaking the current impasse ended inconclusively without any tangibe result.

Cabinet minister Nimal Siripala de Silva and secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunge were also present but did not involve themselves directly in the discussion amounting to a dialogue between both leaders. Sampanthan participated alone without any other TNA representatives being present.

The chief reason for the breakdown was due to the President insisting that the TNA provide names of representatives to the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee(PSC) immediately while the TNA leader refused to do so until a document of mutual consent was signed by both parties first.

The President indicated at the outset that he was very keen to resolve outstanding issues through the Parliamentary select committee but was unable to convene it because the TNA was refusing to participate in it and was not prepared to even submit the names of nominees by the party to the PSC.

Sampanthan replied that the TNA was equally anxious to help resolve the crisis because it was in the interests of the long suffering Tamil people whose interests the TNA represented.

However , it was not possible to participate in the PSC without having reached some agreement on important issues discussed at Govt-TNA talks, Sampanthan pointed out.

Clarifying the TNA position further the veteran Tamil leader from Trincomalee said that the TNA had engaged in protracted talks with Govt representatives to forge an understanding on achieving a solution to the Tamil national question.

Significant progress had been made in the talks but suddenly the President had decided to appoint a PSC without consulting the TNA and wanted the premier Tamil party to join the discussions said Sampanthan.

Nevertheless the TNA was ready to participate if and when the Govt-TNA bilateral talks arrived at an agreement. Thereafter the TNA would participate in the PSC and submit the bi-lateral understanding to the Select committee for joint approval, Sampanthan explained.

The President interjected and told Sampanthan to submit the names of the proposed TNA representatives first. Thereafter bilateral talks could resume, he said.

Sampanthan declined to do so and said the TNA would announce the names of representatives when they were ready to join the PSC discussions. This was possible only when an underastanding was reached bilaterally he said.

With both the President and TNA leader reiterating their respective stances without any compromise the “Temple Trees” talks ended abruptly without any resolution of the prevailing deadlock.

Talks between Government and TNA delegations have been continuing in fits and starts from early last year. The premier objective of the talks was to reach a consensus on meaningful sharing of power. Although significant progress has been made in several respects an overall conclusion is yet to be finalized as some key issues remain unsolved bones of contention.

The talks which broke down at on an earlier occasion were revived again after a one to one meeting between President Rajapaksa and TNA leader Sampanthan. These talks were arranged by the Indian High Commission in Colombo.

Meanwhile the nomenclature of the Govt delegation underwent a change as that of representing the Sri Lanka Freedom Party(SLFP)which is the chief constituent of the United Peoples Freedom Party(UPFA) alliance.It was emphasized that the official delegation engaged in talks represented neither the Government nor the UPFA but only the SLFP.

The Govt was represented at talks by Cabinet Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva and GL Peiris along with deputy minister Sajin Vass Gunewardena and National list MP Rajiva Wijesinha.The TNA delegation comprised Parliamentarians R,Sampanthan, “Mavai” Senathirajah, Suresh Premachandran, MA Sumanthiran and Presidents Counsel K Kanagiswaran.

The resumed talks once again hit a snag when President Rajapaksa “shifted the goalposts” by announcing the setting up of a Parliamentary Select Committee(PSC) to discuss relevant issues and arrive at a consensus. The TNA was asked to nominate representatives to the PSC.

The TNA declined to do so by nominating representatives and expressed misgivings about a PSC mechanism against the backdrop of similar multi-lateral exercises failing to achieve satisfactory results.

The TNA wanted bi-lateral discussions to continue until a bi-partisan consensus was reached. Thereafter the TNA was prepared to participate in the PSC and present the bi-lateral arrangement reached at the PSC. The chief opposition United National Party(UNP) also stated it would abide by the TNA position.

With both sides maintaining such contrary positions the deadlock continued. In a significant snub delivered to TNA, the Govt representatives failed to attend scheduled talks with the TNA on three consecutive days even while the Indian Foreign minister SM Krishna was visiting Sri Lanka.

SM Krishna however stated at a press conference where Sri Lankan external affairs minister GL Peiris was present that President Rajapaksa had reiterated his willingness to “13 A plus” meaning he was ready to go beyond the scope of devolution provided through the India –inspired 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

However President Rajapaksa later said that he had not agreed to 13th Amendment plus and that he had only indicated his willingness to consider “13 A plus”. He insisted that any agreement could only be finalized at the PSC.

Notwithstanding these semantics by the Machiavelli of Medamulana , the Indian High Commission continued to play a behind the scenes role in bringing both sides together.

According to diplomatic sources India provided its “good offices” to both sides to meet unofficially and iron out differences.

Apparently these unpublicized talks between both sides resulted in much progress. A document of mutual consent by both sides to continue talks was drafted for ratification by the President Mahinda Rajapaksa and TNA leader R Sampanthan

This document according to sources referred to SM Krishna’s visit and the need to pursue further talks to reach a mutually acceptable consensus. The TNA and SLFP delegations were to engage in further talks to resolve clearly identified outstanding issues.The TNA would submit names of persons to be nominated by the party to the PSC. However the TNA would participate in the PSC only after outstanding issues were resolved bi-laterally.

It was expected that President Rajapaksa would give his assent to this consent document after he returned to the County from his Pakistan and Singapore trips.

So there was optimism amidst diplomatic circles that a breakthrough had been achieved when President Rajapaksa invited TNA leader Sampanthan for an urgent meeting at “Temple Trees”. It was hoped that both would affix signatures to the draft document after direct discussions.

This result did not materialize as the President had insisted that the Sampanthan submit the names of TNA nominees to the PSC straightaway without any reference to the draft document.

Sampanthan had respectfully declined to submit any names until and unless the “consent” document was accepted and ratified

The President had ignored this request and continued to insist that the TNA submit names to the PSC first and that the PSC should commence sittings as soon as possible. He had virtually ignored the draft document and made no reference to it either positively or negatively.

The direct discussion between both the President and the TNA leader terminated abruptly as a result of the new deadlock in attempts to break the old deadlock.

The talks began at 6 pm on February 21st and was expected to go on for an hour. However the dialogue ended prematurely at 6.25 pm.

The cordial atmosphere that prevailed at the commencement of the talks had soured at the end. Although “official”photographs were taken at the beginning when the President welcomed the TNA leader with a hearty handshake no cameras flashed when Sampanthan departed after talks ended.

It is learnt that a visibly annoyed President had made caustic remarks about Sampanthan after the TNA leader left. He reportedly remarked that Sampanthan was craftier than Prabhakaran.

The breakdown has upset many political observers who had banked on the favourable equation existing between both leaders enabling a satisfactory outcome to emerge.

Thus the impasse continues and it remains to be seen as to whether fresh initiatives would be undertaken by interested parties to resolve the issue.

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65 Comments

  1. The sinister move of the Sri Lankan leader has been derailed by the adroit stance of the TNA leader. The Sinhala Tamil impasse is too complex even for the tripartite inspiration of Machiavelli, Kautilya and Thiruvalluvar. India’s faith in anrithum eva jayathe, na sathyam ( untruth alone triumphs, never truth ) stains all approaches.

  2. Stick to your guns Sampa.

    The LTTE were defeated because those who had gained power in Colombo were the mirror image of the LTTE.

    You have to deal with Colombo, in the same manner that the world dealt with the LTTE.

    LTTE were listed as terrorists.
    Rajapakse’s and their chokka’s should be listed as war criminals and defenders of war criminals.

  3. Mahinda lied about 13th amendment and 0 civilian killed
    Proved by Krishna and LLRC. Sampanthan ‘one to one’
    lie could be the third one. He already change the constitution
    to become 3rd time president. You just dreaming, but he is
    total fraud always thinking on how to cheat people and the world.
    Poor Ranil without building people support , how he going to compete
    War Criminals? Need a wider alliance with all community.

  4. Thank you DBS, for this prompt report. We wonder as to actually what happened when important ‘events’ of this nature take place in Colombo. In my opinion Tamilweek has become the most reliable source of information.

    I understand and accept the position of the TNA. Now the big question is whether the IC – particularly India -is prepared to put sufficient pressure on Mahinda regime to move things forward.

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    Thank you for your kind words about Tamilweek but I must point out that this is posted on my blog -www.dbsjeyaraj.com.Tamilweek and Transcurrents have posted links to this only

  5. Why arm twist the leader of the agrieved through one to one ? This one to one model is inappropriate to Indian Subcontinet countries , particulalry to SL which was standing tall politically until 1956.

    Why could not have had one to one with Ranil first, because the SLFP- UNP both using the Tamil issue as a major issue in grapping the power from the other ? Both also had to deal with youth uprising from the South and the North at different times when they were in power.

    Has UN got any mandate or guidelines based on UN Charter to make MR-Ranil one to one meeting on devolution issue to find a global solution that will take care of regional and local ?

  6. TNA behave like LTTE. TNA refuses 13th Amendment. That means they try to fool India. If TNA get “advice” from USA/UK on this matter, they cannot achive anything to their voters.

    This kind of “impasse” is enough for the TNA till the next election.

  7. Good on you Sampa.

    No Sinhala leader will allow our Tamil brothers and sisters to live in peace. They are guided by the electorate.

  8. As Dushy said,

    then the world listed (treated) the LTTE as Terrorists
    now the world has listed (treating) the Rajapakshes as War criminals.

    law of karma at its work.

  9. Congratulations DBS annan on a brilliant news article.

    I learn from this that Govt and TNA have been talking quietly with Indias help and that Mahinda has upset things by ignoring consent document draft and insisting on TNA giving names for select committee.

    Annan I have question for you. Why did you not write about Govt-TNA talks quietly happening earlier and getting scoop?

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    I was aware of the talks going on quietly but had no intention of “scooping”it because I wanted it to succeed and not scuttle it. I firmly believe that there is no way out except for a mutual undertanding through negotiations. I feared that premature publicity would affect the progress.

    But the venture ended in failure.

    In reporting it I had to provide some background and context so that people could understand what exactly went wrong. If one was not aware of the actual situation one was likely to get a wrong impression of what went wrong.Hence I had to inform readers about certain matters that were not in the public domain earlier

  10. Hmmm….. take it or leave it attitude !! Both are obstinate and there won;t be solution to the Tamil ‘political’ aspirations in the pipe line.

    One thing is clear MR will not budge to anyone, he will not come in to any agreement with anyone on political solution.

    He is too savvy to lose his vote base.

    If only we had a Nelson Mandela !!!

  11. Sinhala racists must relaise that Prabaharan lost because he did not have any moral backing due to his mad acts though he had gun power. Now the situtation is different with Tamils as the grieved helpless people are on a moral high ground though they do not posses a single gun. I am sure if they continue their struggle on a just and peaceful method they will succeed. Any amount of cheating and delaying tactics by sinhala leaders is not going to work. After all it took nearly six years for the International Community to lose patience with Prabaharan and come decisively to eliminate him. Similarly Rajapakse and the Sinhala racists will be given time to put their house in order and agree to a fair settlement with Tamils according to international norms. If not what happened to Prabaharan and his followers will happen to him and his lackeys. It is for the Tamils to be patient and watch the events as impatience will only spoil them being winners.

  12. Thanks DBS. Well crafted. The direct talks held between The President of SL and Mr.Sampanthan ,TNA ended in failure indicates that future talks would be needing international support to push forward and maintain the good facilitation between two sides.
    This is not failure only . The remarks made by the president reportedely on Mr. Sampanthan is a matter of concern as well as to see how the president’s line of thinking on Sampanthan’s stand .
    This stand still is not temporary setback but also it requires urgent international support for peace talks as soon as possible.
    SL leads to more darker into darker. Slippping into self destruction.

    India is again failing to effectively facilitate the process between two parties. but, indirectly will be blocking the international facilitation .

  13. The TNA should go to UNP,JVP,LSSP,CP,SLMP,DNA etc and try to come with common platform for the national question and sideline MR all together.
    These meetings should be transparent and the public should be educated.Some
    international good office with devolopmental gurantees/aid is needed to show what can be acheived for Srilankans by solving this issue.
    These devolopmental gurantees and aids should be subject to fulfilment of terms of agreement which should include human rights,freedom of speech,good governance, transparency along with devolution of powers and equal rights for all citizens.

    Think every body, LTTE IS HISTORY, IF SRILANKA WANTS TO PROSPER IT SHOULD ADOPT A BROAD BASED APPROACH THAT WOULD ENSURE SAFETY AND SECURITY FOR ALL CITIZENS NOT JUST ONE COMMUNITY OR FAMILY.

  14. PRESIDENT RAJAPAKSE WAS SUCESSFULL IN BREAKING PARTIES LIKE U.N.P.,J.V.P.AND MULIM CONGRESS BUT UNABLE DO THE SAME WITH T.N.A.BY INVITING SAMPANTHAN FOR ONE TO ONE TALK HE WANTS TO CREATE A RIFT AND SUSPISSION AMONG T.N.A,MEMBERS AND TAMIL CIVIL SOCIETY.BUT ALL THE TAMILS IN SRI-LANKA AND ABROAD ARE WELL AWARE OF RAJAPAKSAS MOTIVES AND TIME BUYING TACTICS.HOW LONG MORE HE CAN FOOL THE INTERNATIONAL AND TAMIL COMMUNITY.

  15. Dear DBS anna

    Thank you for giving us this news with so much of details. I always think you are best journalist who knows Tamil politics very well. Keep on writing Anna.May the Maviddapuram murugan protect you

    Thank you Thulasi.Yes I will keep writing……….DBSJ

  16. JR played games, during 70’s and pushed TULF out, to create LTTE. It is 2012, Mahinda is following this trick. what does he ask god when he takes sil?

    80,000 Srilankans have lost their lives and properties. The government of Srilanka does not want a negotiated peaceful solution, for sure. SAD, no country will help srilanka to find the solution because what it received in return. UNGRATEFUL government.

  17. Whenever LTTE negotiated with the government they always stuck to their guns. We see that Mr Sambandan follows suit throughout his negotiations with Rajapakse government just like LTTE did. This is of no surprise to us because they have a history for being LTTE stooges and were obedient pupils for many years.

    We highlight this point mainly because neither Mr Sambandan nor any present day TNA MP has ever regretted the declaration of Waddukkodai resolution or eschew the violence it promoted to date but only threw veiled threats of confrontation or bloodshed now and again. Yet no writers and particularly from the Tamil side ever blame them for being Machiavellian tacticians. But they always find all rationales to stamp Mahinda Rajapakse a Machiavelli. Machiavelli or not, Mahinda Rajapakse is widely acknowledged as the saviour of this country.

    It is not surprising then majority Sinhalese suspect TNA MPs as separatists or Eelamists. Not just that, most of the Sinhalese (not the UNP lackeys) assume the desire of all nations in that club called IC aim to get their own objectives fulfilled by backing Tamils achieve their aspirations. It is in this light that we have to discuss whether 13A plus or minus, or LLRC recommendations be implemented.

    LLRC had stated its opinion and the government had made it public against all the prophesises by westerners and their cohorts. TNA has rejected most of its recommendations bar few things. It is arguable that those few things suit them well to march towards their goal – Eelam. The so-called International community (IC) are clearly divided on the extent of the usefulness (I am not sure usefulness to whom) of LLRC recommendations. Their attitude is of no surprise to us for they have cast doubts of LLRC even before it was being appointed.

    The word ‘aspiration’ shouldn’t be taken for granted for Tamils’ use only. It should be on for Muslims and as well as for Sinhalese. We know that the remedy is not in 13A plus or minus. How could one say all LLRC recommendations are the ultimate solution? Surely we cannot allow a view of few individuals to be rammed in to our constitution just as 13A was done by the real Machiavelli, JRJ. Had JRJ not brought enough upheaval by a hurried solution?

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    As far as I know I am the only person who refers to Mahinda as the Machiavelli of Medamulana.Describing someone as Machiavellian is not necessarily an insult.It can be a compliment too depending on the context.

    As for not calling Tamil politicians Machiavellian is because none come up to that level in political strategy and statecraft.Sri Lankan Tamils dont have anyone whom I could describe as Chanakyan or Kautilya let alone Machiavelli.That is why perhaps Tamils are in this position today.

    Fortunately for Up Country Tamils they had Saumiyamoorthy Thondaman who I would call the “Malaiyahathu Machiavelli” as a compliment

  18. “Sampanthan was craftier than Prabhakaran”………………..Mahinda Rajapakse. Then, Mahinda didn’t know Sampanthan. Sampanthan is not VP. Unlike VP, He understands geo politics, and real politics. You cannot fool him. He has been in politics since SJV’s time.

    I was told that when TNA delegates met US Foreign Officials in Washington, one of the senior Officials remarked that even in this (pathetic) situation, Tamils are lucky to have a leader who is democratic, and articulate. My only concern is how long he is going to be around? There is no one to replace him.

  19. MR has now realised that he cannot escape from the war crimes issue,
    whether he solves the Tamil ethnic issue or not.
    So he does not want to solve the issue.
    Also there were rumours about his health condition.
    He thinks that he might as well be remembered at least by those who voted for him as a martyr.

  20. President should not give in to TNA at any cost. These people have aided and abaited terrorism and worked hand in glove with LTTE. Let them bring their arguments to PSC, if not we can show them the door again.

  21. @RAJA:

    “Sinhala racists must relaise that Prabaharan lost because he did not have any moral backing due to his mad acts though he had gun power.”

    Prabhakaran lost for 2 reasons only:

    1. India was against Eelam.
    2. The world thought and believed that the Sri-Lankan government would devolve powers to the tamils in line with something similar to the 13th amendement.

    Prabhakaran was 100% certain that Sri-Lanka would never, ever do number 2 above, and so he was unwavering on Eelam. And therefore, since the world did not think so, and the added effect of number 1, he lost.

    Today, the world is starting to realise that number 2 is not true and that Prabhakaran is being proven right by the Sri-Lankan government day by day. That’s the change that is currently occurring. If ever another Prabhakaran surfaces, he will never have to worry about number 2 again.

    “I am sure if they continue their struggle on a just and peaceful method they will succeed.”

    Do realize that just and peaceful methods will only work against those that are receptive to such means. Gandhi would never have won against Hitler or the Japanese of WW11. George Washington would not have won the USA’s independence through peaceful means against the British – he was labelled a terrorist of the British Empire. Nelson Mandela bombed railways and civilian infrastructure in his quest and even after his release from jail never ever denounced armed uprising as means to freedom. I fail to see why those who purport peaceful means against oppression fail to see the results of history.

    (On a side-note, what many people fail to realize is that it was because of Hitler that India got independence from Britain, not Gandhi. If the British empire was not stressed and crumbling due to the German expansion, there would have been no reason for the British Empire to leave India.)

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    Please dont try to do a “Prabhakaran”revival here. Prabhakaran was defeated and destroyed due to his own faults.In the process that man has taken down the Tamil people with him. The evil that he did lives after him. What is being attempted now is a salvage operation to save what we have and to defend further erosion of Tamil rights.The world has always been sympathetic towards Tamils but not towards secessionism or violence.

    Some “prabakaranistas” are trying to portray a different picture but the reality is different.

  22. I clearly advise both the TNA and govt to drop the hardline stance and agree to reasonable power sharing mechanism. Both parties have to make compromises in order to achieve reasonable agreement. If both these parties play the hardline game they will end up having a egg on their face and Tamil masses will again be at the loosing end.

  23. Dear choclate skinned human,

    Your question “Why could not have had one to one with Ranil first, because the SLFP- UNP both using the Tamil issue as a major issue in grapping the power from the other?” is very rational.

    There are number of ways to solve the problem. What happened to the surprise initiative in 1997 by Liam Fox? Unless there is sincerity of purpose there is no use in any move.

  24. We should understand that two unlikely figures like Rajapakse and Sampanthan will never be able to agree on a framework, let alone sign a lasting agreement. So it is just playing to the gallery from time to time to appease those who are prodding. India, USA and International Pressure all make sanctimonious statements about the need for a peaceful settlement.

    So we have to wait a while to see the back of Sampanthan and Rajapakse before we get the real deal. It is like MR and Prabarkaran again. Two peas in a pod. While Sampanthan is not Prabarkaran he is close to his views as it pertains to the inalienable rights of the Tamil people, and in that he is too extreme a leader to be able to agree on a common and fair deal for his people

    The only reason he is considered to represent the Tamils is because the TNA is the only alternative that the Tamil people will trust, being that they do not have any alternative at present. There is no question that TNA is expressing an extreme view that they have the luxury of pursuing as it does not hit their pocket books, but the Tamil people in the affected areas, particularly in the North are those affected by their intransigence.

    MR does not care as he is playing to his gallery, the rabid Sinhala Buddhists who fear giving any ground to Tamils, and they at present are the majority. That is all he cares about. Not peace.

    Until we get a statesman at the helm and a realist to represent the Tamil people we will see this game being played out, wasting all our time and energy with these talks and subterfuge, as it seems to work well for the galleries of both leaders. After all that is what politics is about. Hanging on as long as you can while the people you represent are screwed.

  25. I am no supporter of what the LTTE stood for, specially during the last decade. I do however agree with their initial motives during their inception. If us Tamils get equal rights are treated fairly, i can’t stop thinking that the LTTE would have won the war – regardless of loosing the last battle. The pen is mightier than the sword – this is what the LTTE never truly realized. However, it looks like our leaders have realized this now!! why throw rocks at modayas that have more rocks than us. They cannot out wit us and fool all of the people all of the time- and in the end the truth shall prevail!

  26. Sampanthan stands firm by the mandate and the interest of the Tamils and EPDP leader is reported to stand selection to Geneva. The latter, roundly condemned by the LLRC for crimes committed by him, will be at the UNHRC conference to sing the praise of the Commission and to deny the crimes of the armed forces. Thrusting the spurious into the limelight at conferences has been the dubious tactic of colonial rulers. Nations once subject, decry the practice but yet copy.

    At the Round Table Conference in London in 1931, Britain’s choice of delegates to represent India was among others, Aga Khan and Sir C.P. Ramaswamy Aiyar. Aga Khan was described by Nehru as an able representative of imperialist England at the RTC. The irony of it was that he was supposed to represent India. Sir C.P was to Nehru a full blooded apologist of British rule in India. He was knighted to play the traitor. Though alienated from the Indians, he was respected for his scholarship.

    The EPDP leader has neither wit nor words nor the power of speech. When an uneducated speaks, it like the barking of a dog said the Tamil poetess Auvaiyar, 1500 years back. About the credentials for a delegate, the Kural of the same period said, sagacity, personality, and erudition in ample measure were essential attributes.

    Sir P. Ramanathan had them all when he represented the educated Ceylonese 100 years back. The forensic excellence of G.G.Ponnampalam astonished the audience at the U.N general assembly in 1966. What a fall, Tamils would exclaim at the Government’s penchant for the ludicrous. Sampanthan’s authentic voice alone should ring in the counsels of the Geneva Forum claiming legitimate resonance

  27. Rajah:

    Mere mentioning the name “Prabaharan” pollutes the decency of this forum. You will do a great service to our community by just leaving him in peace.

  28. Little doubt Mr Rajapakse’s exasperation is the oncoming Geneva talks, which is why he called for a 1-to-1 with the TNA leader. This has nothing to do with producing peace or helping the country gain reconciliation as a presule to move towards prosperity in unity. How nice it would be tell the Geneva audience – some of whom decidedly of the view enough is enough – that all is well and “we are already in the process of reaching a settlement with the Tamil leadership, what are you talking?” But old Sampanthan is made of tougher fibre and is consistent in asking for evidence of some forward movement in the past many months of talks before nominating his team to this one-more window dressing – now named PSC. The region and the world knows Rajapakse’s record of engineered failures of talks and his propensity for perfidious moves.
    He may like to be part of a solution but, in his own words, “he is a prisoner” – obviously to the supremacist cabal within his fold.. He is far more interested in the political future of his sons and his immediate family rather than the wider future of the country. He knows all too well the mood of the poisoned Sinhala electorate is “any reasonable concession to the TNA will be considered as treason to the Buddhist Sinhala Nation”
    Wich, in other words would mean, his sons will be thrown out by the Sinhala people in future elections.

    This the danger and reality the Sinhala people must take note of. The South must decide whether the Rajapakses are for the country or the country is for the Rajapakses. The real source of political power in the country – the Buddhist higher clergy – must move and take charge notwithstanding possible threats from dubious political characters like the gun-toting Elle Gunawansa – now reportedly a Govt nominee, of all places, to the Police Commission.

    Just about the only development in this meeting is for the senior Tamil parliamentarian to be insulted in pithy Sinhala – behind his back after his left. That is the inherent caliber of our leadership in today’s reality.

    ISS

  29. I am from Trinco and know Mr.Sampanthan very well. He wont lose his cool in a hurry unless the other side was unbearable

  30. Sam was correct in taking the only position he could under the cirmcumstances, because he had not forgotten the lessons of history from the time when the BC Pact was torn up….. .therefore he was not annoyed or angry, he simply got off his seat after twenty five minutes finding that no purpose would be served by being there any longer, and went on his way much to the chagrin of the President to blurt a comment about Prabakaran’s craftiness(as if there was any)especially if it resulted in someone like himself weilding Presidential power in the island today.

  31. DBSJ,

    What’s going on here? Do you think the Tamil politicians are back to their old stance of being inflexible? Is Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka right in his recent article about TNA’s adamant stance?

  32. I am so sad at this outcome. It reminds me of the ‘Talks’ that Govt had with the LTTE and the LTTE walking off.

    I am not trying to draw a parallel here of the TNA and LTTE, however it must be mentioned that in the sinhalese mind TNA is a proxy for the LTEE no matter what.

    What I think of this whole issue can be summed up as follows.

    Any agreement with the TNA is a bonus for the Govt aginst the HRC coming up. SO why would the TNA be party to it?

    These are political games played by TNA just as TULF, End result is frustrated tamil youth and another VP.

    For the ordinary man Consent document and PSC are useless as the MP’s or the parliament itself. Their quality of life depends on Peace, Opportunity and Equality.

    I hope not withstanding the Govt, TNA, HRC the common man will conitinue to prosper in a peaceful atmosphere. Politicians can go to hell as far as I am concerned.

  33. Militancy has been crushed; Terrorism has been defeated. The island has been liberated. ‘All’ have been freed.

    There is no necessity for you to grieve; there is no reason to agonize.

    The freedom of the Jungles has been delivered to you. If your path does nor cross that of a more vicious or deadlier creature your life is safe.

    Accepting the solution of the South has provided relief to many. What is your qualm?

  34. Why cant Sampanthan just give names of TNA nominees? No need to go to PSC but just giving names is not a problem I think

  35. Dear Readers, dear DBSJ,

    frustration and frustration that is what I feel as a tamil individual (although living in the west).
    As a tamil Diaspora I think we feel the same. Back in our homeland, the tamils not even can afford to be frustrated.
    Hopefully we have some daylight at the end of this tunnel. Hopefully before the Genocide is completed by this ‘Machiavelli of Medamulana’. Thanks if you allow this comment as my vent for my frustration…

    – Alex

  36. Chanakyan

    I do feel as you say when (untruth alone survives, but not truth).

    India will come out that phase once BJP is in power, I hope.

  37. BE CAREFULL SAMPA! MAHINDA WILL SEND THE WHITE VAN TOWARDS YOU IF YOU GO AGAINST HIM. SO GOOD LUCK AND MAY GOD BLESS YOU.

  38. I don’t understand, why some commentators are blaming the TNA? I think in their minds they have a set opinion that the Tamils are “second class citizens” and have to obey their “Sinhala Masters”

    Why can’t they find fault with MR? He had all the time in the world after the war to come up with a solution!!! How many lame excuses, how many commissions will he form and throw them all in the dust bin? The latest LLRC must have seen the dust bin by now. How much man power, how much money, would have been wasted. But all the people who were involved in this wasteful exercise are his buddies, so in short all the money wasted went to his kith and kin. That is a plus for him.

    How many more trees are going to be cut to produce this copious amounts of report in the future is any body’s guess!!!

  39. Just to add a few more thoughts to what I noted earlier, the People of Sri Lanka must realize that Rajapakse rule is not intended to even benefit the Sinhala electorate. His personal agenda is far greater and is willing for political expediency and dynastic rule, willing to sacrifice the Nation as a whole. There are very few in the administration itself who believe this rule can survive too long due to this greed and selfish paramount motive. I therefore expect this status quo sans any agreement until we see the end of the current dictatorship.

    It is important for the Tamil speaking people in the country realize that it is in their interest also to end this rule for the greater benefit of themselves and the country to see economic and social prosperity devoid of racial undertones. The TNA is therefore not the answer to their cause. As long as the TNA represents them, it is LTTE in another guise and will not be trusted. It is the TNA that has strengthened the Rajapakse rule not diluted it.

    I wish the sensible Tamil people realize their is only one option for the betterment of all and a lasting peace. That is a return to a sane administration of a new UNP and that will take about 2 to 3 years when a new leadership takes over (not Sajith as he is also part of the problem)

  40. DBSJ
    Many in this blog failed to understand the predicament of MR. If he agrees to TNA demands and signs the draft he will be reprimanded by the Sinhala Nationalist and eventually loses his political power. If he doesn’t then the International Community would charge him for the war crimes committed during the war against LTTE.

    What do you expect him to do. As ‘Machiavelli of Medamulana’ he found an easy way out by referring the problem to PSC.

    If TNA is wise or ‘Chanakya’ like the ‘Malayaha Machivelli’ the Late Thondaman they should understand MR’s predicament and allow him to find a way out by participating in PSC but with certain conditions such as fixed time frame, some guarantee for a resolution etc.

    Perhaps TNA can wait until the UNHR session is over (not to give any advantage to MR now) then agree for its participation in the PSC.

  41. I am really lost with words like devolution, self-determination, 13 + etc… exactly what do the tamils want? Someone, make a clear list. Just 5 things.

    Are you sure that’s not too much for your delicate intellect?………..DBSJ

  42. “Direct discussions between President Rajapaksa and TNA leader Sampanthan to revive talks end in failure”

    If we start counting the number of talks between the (Sinhala) SL govt. and the Tamils right from 1948, almost everything ended in failure. 64 years of failure and the country continues to progress in the negative direction.

    When will it be a success or will there ever be a success???

  43. Rajapaksa abruptly ended discussion with Tamil National Party Leader after less than half hour ??

    Strange ..

    Negotiations with the Tamil Leaders are important point in post-war reconciliation and for long lasting peace in Sri Lanka.

    This proves to me that Rajapaksa Government do not want the reconciliation.

    Rajapaksa wants to keep Tamils in chains and are treated like animals.

    Rajapaksa does these meetings just for show to hoodwink the world with his false promises …

  44. Talks with the LTTE failed. Now the same fate of talks with the TNA. When are solutions going to be found. A Govt. that is in office is absolutely responsible to come out with constructive proposals and see that negotiations are successful.

  45. I think the moment TNA and Sampanthan started using the words like ‘self determination”, ‘Tamils are a distinct people”, the game was over as far as talks between GOSL and TNA were concerned. Using those catch phrases are akin to waving a red flag in front of Sinhalese. They (TNA) is making sure that the GOSL pushed in to a corner and that no realistic agreement can come.

    I believe that TNA is making a calculation that it is not the GOSL but the International community and the pressure from the human rights industry that can deliver something to them. This is a dangerous move, something that has the potential to back fire on them badly and affect the future of Tamils in Sri Lanka adversely. I hope people know what they are doing.

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    I agree with much of what you say Ranjan and am troubled by the approach of the TNA.I will soon write about this

  46. “That is a return to a sane administration of a new UNP and that will take about 2 to 3 years when a new leadership takes over (not Sajith as he is also part of the problem)”

    Re: In Sri Lanka whether it is the Green, Blue or Red, it is the same. It is the same policy towards the Tamil problem. ie. annihilation. What about the pogroms of 1958, 1983, 1977, burning of the library and Jaffna town? Shit bombs in Jaffna? Colonisation in the east to change the demography. List is endless.

    Who are the majority of the people in the present cabinet? Most are former greens. It is the “recycle” process at its best.

  47. “1948, almost everything ended in failure. 64 years of failure and the country continues to progress in the negative direction.”

    How many times we broke the talks and how many times SL Govt broke the talks?

    Opportunity comes only once or twice. If we do not catch the opportunity in the right time then opportunity will never come. This is the case of Tamils.

    Great Tamil Leader A. Amirthalingam once said “SL government never want to settle issue willingly. Now India pressured them to sign the Lanka- India accord. Tamils should not oppose to that opportunity”

    After 20 years later now we want that accord to be implemented badly. TNA including R Sampanthan should apologise to Tamil people not accepting the accord in 1987

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    There was no TNA in 1987 but the TULF of which Mr.Sampanthan was a member accepted the accord along with the PLOTE,TELO, EROS and EPRLF expressing some resevations on certain aspects

    But what is stupid now is Sampanthan saying we wont accept 13th Amendment when that despite its flaws is all that Tamils have at this moment

  48. DBSJ

    I am glad you are going to write about TNA’s ‘not-so-wise’ conduct in the past. I think this starts from the time the Indo Lanka agreement was signed. I believe I-L accord fulfilled at least 40% of our objectives. Merger of N & E and confining the SL army to the barracks are massive diplomatic triumph of Rajiv G. Amirthalingam and Sivasithamparam defended the agreement and stuck to their guns and refused to give in to the bullying by the LTTE – and they made a supreme sacrifice. But on the other hand Sampanthan appeared to take orders from Prabaharan. Even when Rajiv was assassinated by this psychopath, Sampanthan did not come up with a strong statement to condemn the LTTE for this brutal act. Furthermore Sampanthan went on to have dealings with VP, though he was the number 1 murder suspect in Rajiv’s trial.

    Sampanthan needs to understand he has a huge responsibility on his shoulders.

    The TNA should openly say that they would accept an identical Indian ‘federal’ arrangement in the Northeast – I do not think we will ever get anything better this unless Mahinda goes crazy and provoke India to invade and occupy the Northeast!

  49. DBSJ RESPONDS:

    “There was no TNA in 1987 but the TULF of which Mr.Sampanthan was a member accepted the accord along with the PLOTE,TELO, EROS and EPRLF expressing some resevations on certain aspects”

    What EROS said about the accord at the time was “We do not accept the accord but we don’t oppose it either”

    As usual EROS was sitting on the fence.

  50. 13th Amendment described by experts as ‘Giving a Car then Government taking back the carkey with them’.
    Without power that mentioned in the Amendment, Provincial Councils are useless.They cant use the lands, money,
    and handling the foregin helps to Develope their Area and Civil Administration.Also without described police power and NE merge they can’t promote National Reconcilation to Ethinic Question and maintaing Law and Order throughout the island.Sinhalese has to understand ,This is not exclusively for Tamils but for all Provincial Councils and Sinhalese will benefit as well.So,all Srilankan communities can accept and It is an International Agreement which Srilanka signed to devolving the power under unitary state,like another International Agreement which Srilanka later signed to devolving the power under Federal state in Norway.

    However some Rulling class and some racist partys block this Provincial Councils and violate the International Agreements and Srilankan Constitution against all Srilankans benefit. Thatswhy Sampanthan refere 13thAmendment as
    ‘dead body and bad smell alredy comming out’Even current eastPC Chief Minister Pillayan compliend about Governer always interfering him and his PC is Powerless(Dead)Body.

    Implementing anything with full Heart by GOSL without racist hate or unreasonable fear will resolve the issue
    otherwise Problem will be more complicated in the future.

  51. It is noted that the TNA refuses to provide names of representatives to the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee until a document of mutual consent is signed by both parties first.
    In the present discussions only the SLFP and the TNA are involved. It is not fair that when there is a wider forum of the PSC that only two parties come to a prior agreement on the complex issues of Constitutional reforms without the participation of other concerned parties, particularly the SLMC and the UNP. TNA should welcome wider participation rather than forcing the hand of the SLFP.
    It must be remembered that finally it is the Parliament that has to approve the proposals. The joint recommendations of the PSC, representing all the parties in the Parliament, hopefully with unanimous agreement would ensure that the proposals will be accepted by the Parliament.
    TNA should look after the interest of the Sri Lanka Tamils and not the diaspora.

  52. Pingback: ”Sampanthan was craftier than Prabhakaran” says Mahinda Rajapakshe « UKTamilNews.com

  53. It appears that the president is exercising his arrogant attitude that is not necessarily conducive for successful negotiations. There is also not enough credibility as many successive governments reneged on whatever verbal or written agreements made in the past. Even last month, the Indian foreign minister was apparently told something different than that the local media regarding devolution by the president. So it is really difficult to be optimistic, however, there is no other choice but to be optimistic and keep hope alive. You just have to play with the cards that you are dealt with. The president wants the names for PSC members partly because it will enable him to tell the UNHRC session that PSC has been setup and it is working on the solutions. He wants to buy time and pass the buck. He will keep the option of assigning blame on PSC if they fail to come up with consensus.

    Even though TNA may not prefer to give the names for PSC at first before the draft consent agreement is signed based on bi-lateral talks, it should tread carefully and not give room to misrepresent TNA as an intransigent or uncooperative partner in negotiations. Since PSC member names should be given anyway, sooner or later in the process, perhaps it is worthwhile to accommodate the government request and provide the names now prior to the ratification of consent document. It may not be worthwhile to refuse giving the names until the consent document ratification because if the government wants to renege on it, it will happen with or without signed documents based on the past history. On the other hand, TNA may reasonably believe that it is important to get draft agreement through bi-lateral talks first because such an agreement cannot be obtained in the PSC talks where so many diverse and extreme elements will not be able to come to a consensus and instead waste time and cause big delays.

    Then the question arises as to why the president is not referring to or not signing the draft consent document? This is troubling. TNA may be afraid that by accepting this kind of government attitude may lead to similar patterns of future actions imposed than those are negotiated. Is it a prelude to future patterns of actions by the government? If so, TNA may be justified in its stand. Hope TNA gets sound advice and implements a pragmatic approach to negotiate and achieve a fair sollution.

  54. what a desparate tamil people have. they all still have same agenda what ltte had. Think about percentage factor living in srilanka and try to adjust accordingly. then we all will have good life without unnecessary conflicts. you guys have unofficial your area to live peaceful. don’t try to make it official again. it would be diaster for all again. think twice before jump again.

  55. could you let us know with some evidence what so called sri lankan majority is prepared to give to minorities. though they were rouges, LTTE was annihilated because the lack of committed support from tamil populace and the support of international community to the GOSL. Sri Lankan majority was praising the international community for doing every thing against LTTE then. but now when the international community, after waiting for more than two and a half years, questions the GOSL for not doing any thing about minority issues they are branded LTTE supporters. within months MR can bring resolutions in parliament with 2/3 to extend the presidency period but he can’t bring any resolution for minority issues.

  56. to add to my comment,
    bec of Thondaman, and Thondaman’s family the indian tamils is sri lanka are still left in line homes and poorly educated. because of the blunder by Thondaman and appalling silence of the nothern and eastern tamils leaders the part of indian tamils had to be sent to India back. that was never happened in any other colonial countries.

    ???????????????……………..DBSJ

  57. [It is learnt that a visibly annoyed President had made caustic remarks about Sampanthan after the TNA leader left. He reportedly remarked that Sampanthan was craftier than Prabhakaran.]

    and mahinda is craftier than sampanthan.

    Why does mahinda need a PSC to implement the 13th amendment?It is already part of the constitution.He does not need to even have talks with the TNA to do that.

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