Most political parties voiced agreement yesterday with the government`s decision to abrogate the Ceasefire Agreement. They endorsed the view that it had been virtually non existent except on paper.
The UNP said the government`s decision was indicative of its desire for a military solution. Speaking to the press, UNPspokesman Tissa Attanayake said if the government had been intent on pursuing a political solution, it wouldn`t have dumped the CFA.
The exceptions included the Western Peoples Front which was totally opposed to war as a solution and the LSSP which said it would voice its views on Friday.
Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader Rauf Hakeem said it had been pledged in the UPFA Government`s election manifesto and did not come as a surprise. `But why did they take four years to do it`, he asked. He said the Government admitted long ago that it was a dead letter and Wednesday`s move was certainly for political expediency and not out of conviction. This was apparent when one looks at the condition laid down by the JVP, Hakeem said.
He said that both, the previous and the present regimes did not consider the Muslim community a stake holder in the peace process. While emphasizing the need for all sides to be considered, he said his party nevertheless criticized this belated action as it was simply aimed at short term political stability.
Ceylon Workers` Congress Vice President R. Yogarajan was of the view that there was no ceasefire during the last two years and the Government`s decision to abrogate it, was only an official announcement to the international community. `As far as the local situation is concerned it hardly makes any difference`, he said. He also said the CWC did not consider it as new political development since it was already a dead letter and it is only a legal move.
Jathika Hela Urumaya heavyweight and Minister of Environment Patali Champika Ranawaka said the Government`s decision to quit the CFA does not carry any political weight but still the JHU endorsed the move. He reminded that he was the first to go to
Courts against the CFA and that on the very first day the CFA was signed Prabhakaran smuggled in a shipload of arms to Mullaitivu and therefore violated it before the ink on the paper could dry.
On April 21, 2003, the LTTE unilaterally withdrew from the negotiating table and thus showed the world that it was no respecter of the CFA. The Mavil Aaru episode also clearly indicated what was on Prabhakaran`s mind. `However, we endorse the government`s move`, Ranawaka said.
National Unity Alliance (NUA) Deputy leader Abdul Kalam said that both parties have violated the CFA. `It is obvious who violated it first and most. There had been practically no CFA during the past two years. What is going to happen now is an official annulment of the ceasefire. The CFA has not recognized the Muslims as a party worst affected by the conflict so the existence or non existence of the CFA does not concern us,` he said.
The General Secretary of the Western People`s Front (WPF) Dr. Kumaragurubaran said the Government has explicitly informed the international community that it is choosing the path of war which has shut the door on future political negotiations. He said that on the other hand this issue could be settled only through political negotiations.
Kumaraguruparan said that terrorism exists because of war and the war exists due to the non-settlement of the ethnic problem by giving accepted devolution powers to the North and East. He also said that they see this as an unfortunate situation.
LSSP leader and Minister Tissa Vitharana said his party`s stand would be announced after the politburo meeting scheduled for today (Friday).
General Secretary of the Communist Party of Sri Lanka, Minister of Constitutional Affairs D. E. W. Gunasekera said since it was a Cabinet decision he cannot comment as he was a member of the Cabinet.