A war in the country will be inevitable if the government drags its feet on the national question and insists on a solution within a unitary form of government, the UNP warned yesterday.
Former Minister and UNP National Organizer S.B.Dissanayake told a news conference that the JVP and the JHU were engaged in a futile hair-splitting theorizing exercise insisting on retaining the so-called unitary character of the government when in reality, the Sri Lankan government had already lost its unitary status with the devolution of power under the 13th Amendment which provides for the Provincial Councils.
Addressing his first news briefing after being released from jail, Mr. Dissanayake said President Mahinda Rajapaksa was in the grip of a political crisis now due to his stand on devolution of power to resolve the national issue.
?The PA which is the core-party of the coalition government has no plan to solve either the national question or the economic problems. The President will lose the two main props keeping him in power if he agrees to devolve power under a federal form of government as agreed upon by his party, the PA, the UNP and world powers like India and the United States,? he said.
Mr. Dissanayake claimed the national question could never be solved under a unitary form of government despite the fiery political rhetoric of the JVP and the JHU denouncing a solution within such a framework.
Referring to an analysis by legal academic Dr. Shirani Basnayake, he said that power had been devolved even beyond the limits of the Indian federal constitution in some aspects through the establishment of provincial councils.
He said the LTTE had accepted the sovereignty of Sri Lanka when they signed the Ceasefire Agreement, and also agreed to find a solution to the problem under a federal structure within a united Sri Lanka. ?If we drag on the problem insisting on retaining the so-called unitary status, the war will be inevitable,? he said.
Mr. Dissanayake also maintained that if LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran did not accept a federal solution within a united Sri Lanka at all, there was no option for any government other than to wage war against him.
?If the LTTE does not agree to power devolution within a united country, there is no need to kneel down before it,? he said.
He said the Tamil Tigers had agreed to solve the problem within a united country and therefore we should come up with a proper power devolution package before the international community including India for their acceptance.
?We should recognize the distinct life style, ethnicity and culture of the Tamil community living in our country. We should consider both Tamils and Sinhalese as people belonging to the same nationality though we speak two different languages,? he said.
Mr. Dissanayake said Tamils should also consider themselves as a community belonging to this country and should be willing to accept power sharing without calling for separation. ?We cannot find even a single example from the world to prove problems of this nature which have been solved by military means. War might offer a temporary solution. We should not consider the failure to win the war as a weakness of the majority Sinhalese,? he said.