President Mahinda Rajapakse yesterday said he was happy that the benefits of the Geneva talks were accruing to the people. Since the government-LTTE face-to-face discussion last month, only a few incidents had been reported, he told a group of journalists at Temple Trees yesterday morning.
He said the government had relied more on the police than the armed forces in maintaining the law and order in the North and the East, wherever possible, and hoped the situation would improve further. Any armed group other than the armed forces in the cleared areas, he said, would be dealt with according to the law of the land.
The responsibility for working towards improving the situation, he said, lay on both sides. As for the `Alternatively Armed
Asked whether the change in the security situation was consequent to what the government delegation claimed `amendments` to the Ceasefire Agreement, Mr. Rajapakse said he didn`t care whether it was amendment or not so long as there was no violence in the country. He said it was not time to quarrel over words. `We have much more important things to do,` he added. He expressed hope that the second round of talks would be held on schedule and would help defuse tension further.
About the on-going JVP protests demanding the removal of Norway as facilitator, he said the JVP as a political party had a right to express its views and that was the way with democratic politics. He said there was room for change in everything in life and no one should be prevented from changing by being embarrassed or ridiculed.
`My task is to carry with me all those who held different views,` a smiling President said, `that was what I had to do when I was Labour Minister. It is no easy job.` Both employers and employees had claimed victory after a meeting with him. `But I didnmind that as my desire was to see both parties win,` he said.