Former Secretary General of the Secretariat for Coordinating Peace Process (SCOPP), Jayantha Dhanapala, said yesterday that time and circumstances would eventually lead the LTTE Leader, Prabahakaran, to change from being a ruthless terrorist to go to the negotiating table.
Dhanapala made this point at the launch of the book `Negotiating with LTTE` by Former Secretary General of SCOPP, John Goonaratne at the Mahaweli Centre yesterday. He called on those who say Prabahakaran will not come to the negotiating table, to study the many instances where terrorist organizations have become political organizations. `Who would have expected the IRA to become a political movement during the days it was engaged in terrorism?` he asked.
He explained that the temporary halt in fighting is a remarkable opportunity for the LTTE to become a political organization and opportunity for the government too to bring about a permanent peace.
Citing the book `Negotiating peace with Tigers,` he said the CFA was not shown to the Military Chiefs and to those who could have advised the govt. about it. He said the facilitator of the CFA had first shown the agreement to the LTTE, before showing it to the government. `There is however a light at the end of the dark tunnel,` he however said referring to the CFA.
He was also of the opinion that considering Karuna as an ally is important. In this context he explained that the Karuna Fraction has also been accused of the recruitment of child soldiers like the LTTE. `When Former President Chandrika Kumaratunge was asked whether she considers Karuna an ally she said he is a terrorist,` he said, recalling a press conference held in the past.
Dr. Dhanapala also regretted the breaking of the MOU between the SLFP and the UNP and as it had brought some hope to the masses as a whole. However he was hopeful that peace would be ushered into Sri Lanka and said there is an opportunity in the proposals of APRC, which is headed by Professor Tissa Witharana.