President Mahinda Rajapakse`s administration would not quit the Oslo-arranged Ceasefire Agreement, government sources said.
Amidst growing JVP-led protests aimed at forcing the President to abrogate the CFA, the sources emphasized that the agreement was irrelevant.
The President is under heavy fire over his refusal to give in to JVP demands, particularly the abrogation of the agreement and summarily terminate the Norwegian role in the peace process.
Senior officials explained that the government was committed to a negotiated settlement. Although the CFA would not be the basis for any future negotiations with the LTTE as security forces had already seized a large area in the East held by the LTTE at the time of the agreement, the government would not officially quit it. `It would be disadvantageous to us,` a senior official said. `Let it be,` he said, pointing out that even the Jaffna frontline too, has changed. In fact, troops seized the LTTE` first line of fortifications last September following their abortive bid to roll back the army, he said.
The government said that whatever the LTTE said they would have to face the ground reality. `They are under heavy attack in the north and east. Operations are continuing in other parts of the country, particularly Colombo and its suburbs to neutralise undercover LTTE operatives,` the sources said.
The LTTE, in a statement marking five years since the signing of the CFA, said the pact formulated with the full support of the international community, had transcended the parameters of Sri Lanka`s majoritarian constitution, recognizing Tamil Eelam`s de facto existence and the balance of power between the government and the LTTE.
The international community has not rejected, for example, the South Sudan Machkos Protocol facilitated by US, UK, Norway and Italy on the basis it is affecting the sovereignty of Sudan, the LTTE statement pointed out.
`Nor has the international community questioned the Serbia-Montenegro agreement and the recent proposal on the future of Kosovo on the basis of contravening Serbian sovereignty. The Papua New Guinea- Bougainville Agreement was not opposed by the international community on the basis of safeguarding territorial integrity and sovereignty. In all these cases the peoples concerned have exercised their right to self-determination and sovereignty.
The JVP said that the government should not ignore the LTTE statement. The JVP wants the government to cancel the CFA and launch an all out offensive to destroy the LTTE.
The government said security forces would continue to target the LTTE regardless the CFA. The JHU backs the government`s position. The recent JVP led protests had caused irreparable damage to SLFP-JVP relations with an influential section of the government calling for what a well informed source termed an anti-JVP crackdown by the state media.
The military said that the CFA was irrelevant. `The international community knows it. The LTTE knows it. In fact, the JVP too knows it,` an official said. Unfortunately the JVP was engaged in a desperate effort to secure politically strong position by forcing the abrogation of the agreement which is underwritten by the US, EU and Japan. The sources said that the JVP also attacked senior presidential advisor Basil Rajapakse`s recent visit to Tokyo. The JVP claimed that the visit was evidence that the government gave in to international pressure to call off military action and return to the negotiating table. The government emphasised that the government would not give in to pressure but believe in a negotiated settlement. But future talks would not be guided in anyway by the LTTE.