Minister addresses Security forces in Vavuniya

[TamilNet, Sunday, 09 March 2003, 13:54 GMT]
"Our government is committed to and working hard to finding a political solution through peace talks. Every citizen of this country should be able to live with dignity and freedom and enjoy equality of status. Based on this premise, we are engaged in talks with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, to find a solution that provides extensive devolution of political powers within a united Sri Lanka," said Prof. G.L.Peiris, Minister of Political Affairs, Government of SriLanka, while addressing security forces in Vavuniya, Sunday, sources said.

Peiris meeting
Minister G.L. Peiris
The meeting, presided by Vanni district Security forces commander, Major General Susil Chandrapala, took place at the Security forces head quarters in Vavuniya. Major General Nanda Mallawarachi, Deputy Commander, and M.M. Dharmeratne, Vanni District Deputy Inspector General of Police shared the stage.

Soldiers from the Sri Lanka Army (SLA), Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) and Sri Lanka AirForce (SLAF) from Vavuniya, Mannar, Chettikulam and Anuradhapura, and Police officers attended the meeting.

Minister Peiris explained the details and decisions made in the on-going peace talks, and clarified and responded to questions raised by members of security forces. He also sought advice and recommendations from attendees.

Minister Peiris also had prior meetings with the commanders and obtained briefings on the state of security in the Vanni region and the situation prevailing in the High Security Zones (HSZs).

While addressing the meeting, the Minister said, "It is not possible to find a solution immediately to a war that has continued for twenty years. There doubts in several peoples' minds whether the peace process will break down. The Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) will not go back to war. The international climate, and the focus and involvement of several countries of the west including super powers on the progress of peace talks will force LTTE to seek the path of peace.

"However, our armed forces must be prepared and ready to enforce security of our country. Training in modern techniques for our armed forces will be sought from Countries helping us in our efforts to work towards peace.

"We have made it clear to the LTTE that we are prepared to discuss everything other than secession. Talks are progressing towards mechanisms to implement extensive devolution of powers.

"There is no truth that India is not supporting our current efforts and peace talks. India has extended to us a load of US $200million to assist in the rehabilitation efforts" added the Minister.

Peiris meeting
Major General Susil Chandrapala welcoming the Minister


When questioned by reporters that meetings such as this may create the impression that the GOSL is encouraging a war mentality within the security forces, the Minister responded that he has a duty to explain to the security forces the progress of peace talks. He added that there is no contradiction in working towards finding a peaceful solution and to keeping the security forces in preparedness until a solution is found.

In responding to another question, Minister Peiris said that there can only be one armed forces in the country. Due to war conditions, the LTTE is maintaining a police force in their areas of control to enforce law and order. Their courts have been in operation for many years. An agreement will be reached on these matters when we are close to a solution on core issues.

On another question on decommissioning LTTE weapons, the Minister replied, "We cannot raise the issue of decommissioning of weapons at this early stage of talks. This is not how other similar conflicts in the world were handled. However, when peace talks reach a stage closer to a solution we will be able to raise this matter."



Peiris meeting

 

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