The government yesterday confirmed there would be no ban imposed on the LTTE as Sri Lanka was not at war despite several other countries proscribing the Tigers and their proxies.
This comes in the wake of earlier comments made by top government officials who had warned that an LTTE ban would be given serious consideration if it continued to attack civilians.
Constitutional Affairs Minister Dew Gunasekara told the Daily Mirror, a Tiger ban was not discussed or considered as the country was not officially at war.
What is the purpose of Sri Lanka banning the LTTE? The country is not at war. The government is not even considering such a move, Minister Gunasekara said.
He said despite civilian casualties caused by the LTTE in the Wanni and its use of Tamil civilians as human shields there was no reason for Sri Lanka to ban the LTTE as it was already branded as a terrorist organization by the United States, Cana, some European Union countries and India.
We do not have to prove we are fighting a terrorist organization, as the US has declared the LTTE one of the most dangerous terrorist outfits in the world. Regional super powers such as India have also banned the LTTE, Minister Gunasekara said.
The government has repeatedly ruled out peace talks with the LTTE unless it lays down arms and surrenders.
Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa towards the beginning of year wanted the LTTE banned due to their terrorist attacks but a few months later warned that a ban would be considered if the Tigers continued to attack civilians.
Sri Lanka s decision not to ban the LTTE comes despite the Indian government cracking down hard on LTTE supporters in India.
The Sri Lankan government is also awaiting a decision by Australia whether it would ban the LTTE under its domestic laws.
Foreign Minister, Rohitha Bogollagama recently called on the United Nations working group under the Security Council`s Counter Terrorism Committee (CTC) to consider listing the LTTE as an international terrorist group.
Minister Bogollgama said the LTTE which has earned international notoriety and opprobrium for its countless cold blooded and savage acts of terrorism, targeting not only high profile politicians and military personnel, but even ordinary civilians, is a prime candidate for consideration by the Working Group for listing as an international terrorist group.
APRC to finalize devolution package
By Sandun A Jayasekera
The All Party Representative Committee (APRC) will be ready with its final document consisting of a political package to be implemented under a new Constitution when the present military campaign ends shortly, APRC chairman and Minister Tissa Vitarana said yesterday.
Prof. Vitarana told the Daily Mirror the APRC would go ahead with the finalization of the document despite the JHU and MEP continuing to boycott APRC deliberations on the basis that they would only participate in the sessions if the TMVP attended them. The TMVP is an active participant in the APRC discussions now and I can t understand why the JHU and MEP are continuing with their boycott, Prof. Vitarana said.
He said there would be no Concurrent List when devolving power to the provinces as it had turned out to be a controversial matter and instead the powers of the Centre and the provinces would be clearly demarcated.
We are holding sittings twice a week and after 85 sessions we are almost on the verge of finalizing a set of proposals, Prof. Vitarana said.
He underscored the importance of UNP participation in APRC deliberations and said UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had told President Mahinda Rajapaksa that senior constitutional lawyer and parliamentarian K.N. Choksy would talk to the APRC chairman on proposals acceptable to the party and submit suggestions or amendments with regard to others.
Every effort will be made to avoid a Concurrent List by clearly demarcating the powers between the provinces and the Centre so that power vested with the province can be exercised by the provincial administration without interference from the Centre, Prof. Vitarana emphasized.
A consensus has been reached on devolution of power from the centre to the nine provinces and second chamber an Upper House -- comprising eight representatives from each of the provinces will be set up as a safeguard to ensure that no legislation seeking to abort devolved power is enacted. Any such legislation has to be passed at a joint parliamentary sitting.
He said village committees would be restored to strengthen the Local Government and Divisional Secretariats would be made the Executive arm of the Pradeshiya Sabhas.
Prof. Vitarana said he hoped the APRC would reach a consensus within the next few weeks and finalize a set of proposals that would satisfy the aspirations of the minority Tamil and Muslim communities with the endorsement of the majority.
Prof. Vitarana reiterated the importance of the role that had to be played by India in the successful conclusion of the entire process which is to see the dawn of a just and lasting peace in Sri Lanka.