An influential advisor to a VVIP had recently met a group of NGO bigwigs at the offices of a leading international NGO to discuss ways and means of tackling the JVP-led campaign against the proposed Joint Mechanism to handle tsunami reconstruction and rehabilitation work in the Northern and Eastern provinces.
Well informed sources said that among the NGO activists at the meeting were three persons repeatedly vilified by JVP heavyweight Wimal Weerawansa and leading National Patriotic Front activists.
The advisor had emphasised the need to conduct a campaign aimed at convincing the people that the proposed structure would not be detrimental. He had also underscored the fact that the JVP would not quit the government over the proposed mechanism.
The meeting had taken place in the backdrop of a meeting chaired by President Chandrika Kumaratunga to convince the Marxist party that there was no basis for its objections. JVP heavyweights Weerawansa and General Secretary Tilvin Silva had vigorously opposed the Oslo-proposed mechanism.
Finance Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera had been among the participants at the meeting. The Sunday Island learns that the JVP had refused to compromise on its stand.
President Kumaratunga had directed ministers, deputy ministers and MPs to campaign vigorously for the Joint Mechanism. The government, despite JVP objections, appears to be inclining towards the structure that would give the LTTE a direct say in tsunami reconstruction and rehabilitation work.
The JVP opposes what their parliamentary group leader Weerawansa termed as `attempts to legitimise the LTTE.` The proposed Joint Mechanism is one way of sanitising the terrorist group that continue to kill, maim and abduct their opponents at will.
US envoy Lunstead
But the US stand on the proposed mechanism appears to have undermined the JVP. US Ambassador Jeffrey Lunstead on Thursday said that the signing and implementation of the proposed mechanism was important both for the ?reconstruction process and the entire political process for progress in the peace process.?
Lunstead said that it would be every effective way to improve delivery of reconstruction assistance to the Northern and Eastern Provinces. During Thursday briefing at the American Centre, he expressed the belief that it would be finalised ?as quickly as possible.?
India, too, appears to be distancing herself from ongoing protests against the proposed mechanism.
A few hours after JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe praised Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran for declaring at a meeting with Norwegian Special envoy Eric Solheim that India would not accept an LTTE dictatorship, Indian High Commission denied the Indo-Asian News Agency website report.
`The Foreign Secretary reiterated India?s long held position that all Tamil groups must be heard and represented and ?all other statements that have been attributed to him at this meeting are false and factually incorrect,? the High Commission spokesperson told The Sunday Island Friday afternoon.
The US stand appears to have taken the JVP by surprise.
Political sources said that the US position is despite (the LTTE) being among the proscribed foreign terrorist groups and India distancing herself from what is seen as a hardline stand.
The JVP appears to be in dilemma with senior members vowing to protect the alliance, while threatening to walk out if agreement is reached with the LTTE.