Tigers must be demilitarised - Lankan Envoy
A negotiated end to Sri Lanka's dragging conflict is
still possible but not before the Tigers are "verifiably demilitarised
and democratised," says one of the most high-profile diplomats of that
Dayan Jayatilleka also said in an interview that the
conflict would only end when Velupillai Prabhakaran, the elusive and
feared leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), gets "demilitarised
one way or another".
Jayatilleka, who enjoys a close rapport with President
Mahinda Rajapaksa, was asked if there was any room for a possible
negotiated settlement to end a war that has claimed over 70,000 lives
since 1983 and still rages.
"Yes but not with the Tigers, and certainly not with
Prabhakaran," the 51-year-old said over e-mail from Geneva, where he is
Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN and other international
organisations based in Switzerland.
Referring in some detail to the 1991 assassination of
former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi by an LTTE suicide bomber,
Jayatilleka said of Prabhakaran: "With him there can be no peace."
"A peaceful, negotiated settlement is possible only if
it recognises that any solution has to be within a single, united Sri
Lanka, and the Tigers are verifiably demilitarised and democratised."
Jayatilleka is a political analyst and academic who
served briefly as a Minister in the Provincial Government in the
northeast when Indian troops were deployed there in 1987-90.
He was posted in Geneva in June 2007 as fighting
escalated between the military and the LTTE and Sri Lanka came under
intense attack over rampant human rights violations.
Asked how the war in Sri Lanka will end, Jayatilleka
asserted: "It will all end the way it all ended in Angola after decades
of conflict when (rebel leader) Jonas Savimbi was killed by the Angolan
"It will all end the way it did in Chechnya when the
Russian Army got Djokar Dudayev, defeated the Chechen separatist militia
in fierce combined arms warfare Angola and Chechnya are peaceful and
"It cannot end while Prabhakaran has not been
demilitarised one way or another."
Claiming that Sri Lanka's "human rights record, our
record of civilian casualties, compares favourably with that of the West
in theatres where its Armed Forces" operate, he said the West's use of
human rights as an instrument was "most disturbing".
"The issue of Kosovo (and the de facto separate status
of Iraqi Kurdistan) reveal that the West is not averse to the
splintering of existing states and the carving out of new ones."
Jayatilleka added: "The West does not seem to believe
in a brotherhood of legitimate states which are besieged by terrorism.
For the West, terrorism is a problem only if the anti-state movement in
question claims to be Islamic or Leftist."
In contrast, most Asian countries back Sri Lanka on
the issue of human rights, he said, because "they are not possessed of
colonial or neo-colonial habits of centuries", because they believe in
"non-interference in the internal affairs of others", and also because
they "know what it is to experience the threat of secession and
Jayatilleka accused the University Teachers for Human
Rights-Jaffna (UTHR-J), a respected rights group, of "becoming part of
the West's civil society pets.
It has joined several other Tamil dissident groupings
in showing extreme distress at the thought of military defeat of the
"These elements just do not want the Sri Lankan state
to win They must comprehend that Tiger fascism cannot be defeated by
unarmed Tamil expatriate dissidents.
It can only be defeated by the guns, men and women of
the Sri Lankan Armed Forces and their Tamil partners."
Courtesy : Daily News