Opposition and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, in a letter to President Chandrika Kumaratunga on `Developing a common programme for the implementation of humanitarian efforts for tsunami affected areas`, said he was surprised the President`s statement that the establishment of the post-tsunami operational management structure was not part of the peace process.
The text of the letter:
I have your letter of 6th May 2005 on the above subject.
My Party`s response to your Additional Secretary`s letter inviting me or a representative of the Party to participate at the discussion on 09th May was in reiteration of our stand on the implementation of rehabilitation programmes for tsunami affected areas. The document entitled `Making Rehabilitation Programmes People Centred` sent to you as far back as 25th January 2005 states our position. A copy of this comprehensive paper is attached once again for your information.
You will recall that I met you twice in discussions on the overall issues of how to make rehabilitation programmes work. Thereafter there was no communication on this matter.
However, in the intervening months the Common Programme/Joint Mechanism as it is popularly known, has been progressed almost to the final stages, involving detailed discussions with the LTTE with the facilitation of the Norwegian Government. Our position regarding issues relating to the peace process, is what was communicated to you in our letter of 08th October 2004. I assured you then that we had given you and your Government all opportunity to proceed with the negotiations with the LTTE within the parameters reflected in the Tokyo Declaration and the Oslo Communique. I also pointed out that you were welcome at any time to consult me on any matter pertaining to the peace process on which you wished to have our views. My position regarding this is the same today.
I must say that I am surprised at your statement that the establishment of the Post-Tsunami Operational Management Structure is not part of the peace process. The international donors and the Co-Chairs of the Tokyo Conference on Reconstruction and Development of Sri Lanka (USA, European Union, Japan and Norway) have invariably linked the implementation of any joint programme of assistance to the tsunami affected areas of the North and East to the peace process. In fact, in your New Year message to the nation in middle of April, you did make the point that the proposed Joint Mechanism providing aid to the people of North and East would be a foundation to find a final solution to the national conflict. If the Common Programme now envisaged is not part of the peace process and you operate outside the framework of the Tokyo Declaration, which includes the Oslo communiqu`8E, then you are moving into a position where the Parties are no longer bound by the cardinal principle of exploring a solution based on a federal structure within a united Sri Lanka.
Let me make my position and that of my Party very clear. We have always been totally supportive of the speedy and complete rehabilitation of tsunami affected people wherever they may reside, whether in the South or in the North and East. The core principles governing the rehabilitation programme have been stated in our document already sent to you in January. These principles are fully in accord with the concepts of transparency and accountability both to the people of Sri Lanka and to all international donors and individuals who have contributed so generously to the rehabilitation effort. They are also in accord with the recent communiqu`8E issued by the donors in Brussels in January 2005.
It is our firm belief that the issues in regard to the Joint Mechanism are very clear, and the views of the contending parties well known. What is necessary now is action by the Government which has the responsibility for coming to a final determination on the matter.