2nd lead (Correction)

Rehabilitated NE Provincial council, no substitute for ISGA- Paper

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 09 June 2004, 00:22 GMT]
”Sri Lanka Government appears to think that by strengthening the NorthEast provincial council and Center for Rehabilitation it could weaken LTTE’s claim for ISGA and convince the International Community to start disbursing the allocated aid money. This back door diplomacy will not work. The mandate of 90% of NorthEast Tamils should be recognized and the Government can ignore Tamils demand only at its own peril,” said Thinakkural, a popular Tamil daily in its editorial Tuesday.

Excerpts from the translation of the editorial follow:

"While the peace process is stalled, the Sri Lanka Government is suddenly showing interest in reviving the activities of the Northeast provincial council. The Governor of the Province has invited the parliamentarians to explain the work plan of the provincial council. This invitation has raised suspicions.

"Provincial councils were established in 1987 to devolve powers thereby resolving administrative conflicts in the provinces. Yet all provincial councils are operational, except the one for which the Provincial Councils Act was enacted, the NorthEast council. The inadequacy of Provincial Councils to address NorthEast problems was established beyond doubt.

"While donor community is exerting pressure, Sri Lanka Government is unable to define an acceptable framework for resuming the peace talks. The Tigers insist that the ISGA should be the starting point for the talks. JVP is openly campaigning against ISGA.

"Tigers are of the view that since a permanent solution is not possible in the near future establishing an interim administration is necessary to address the existential problems of the NorthEast Tamils. The Indo Lanka accord also spoke of an internal administration structure.Ms.Kumaratunge also has accepted the concept of Interim Administration and has included such a proposal in the proposed amendment to the constitution.

"Not wanting to create difficulties for Wickremesinghe Government, during the two-year talks, the Tigers did not press for an Interim Administration. Subcommittee for Immediate Rehabilitation and Humanitarian Needs (SIRHN) was the compromise. But lack of powers made SIRHN ineffective and the Tigers were forced to demand an ISGA.

"Ms.Kumaratunge needs JVP on her side if she is to successfully extend her political future by some means beyond her current term of Presidency. What is then the way out for the Sri Lanka Government? We hope it does not lead us towards the same path as it did in 1994..."

 

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