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Home > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > International Frame of  Struggle for Tamil Eelam > United States & the Struggle for Tamil Eelam  > "Sri Lanka has in President Rajapakse a strong leader" - U.S. Ambassador Robert Blake

United States & the struggle for Tamil Eelam

"Sri Lanka has in President Rajapakse a strong leader"

U.S. Ambassador Robert Blake  speaking
at the National Peace Council Symposium on
“Two Decades of War, Five Years of the CFA, What Next?”

1 March  2007

I want to congratulate National Peace Council for holding this timely symposium and for posing the question: after two decades of war and 5 years of the CFA, what next? I also want to commend NPC for inviting such a range of important religious, political, civil society and other leaders to share their thoughts because all of you collectively represent a powerful constituency for peace. It is also an honor for me to speak after my friend Norwegian Ambassador Brattskar, who together with his country has done so much to promote peace in Sri Lanka.

Ladies and gentlemen, much ink has been spilled about the recent changes in President Rajapakse’s cabinet and the situation in the North and East, but one central fact remains.

Sri Lanka now has an important opportunity finally to achieve peace and that opportunity must be seized. President Rajapakse has a strong majority in Parliament. His party, the SLFP, is in the final stages of crafting a power-sharing proposal that will then be shared with the All Party Representative Committee, under the capable leadership of Professor Vitharana.

The APRC then will bear a solemn responsibility to develop a proposal of its own that meets the aspirations of the Tamil, Muslim and Sinhalese communities. If the proposal is a credible one, there is strong reason to believe that it will attract the support of sufficient UNP members of Parliament to give the President the votes he needs to amend Sri Lanka’s constitution.

The United States calls on the SLFP and the APRC to proceed as quickly as possible with their important work. If a credible power-sharing proposal emerges from the APRC, Sri Lanka has in President Rajapakse a strong leader who can use his very considerable political skills and the trust that his supporters repose in him to help fashion the southern consensus that has eluded previous governments.

Comment by tamilnation.org  A strong leader fashioning the "southern" consensus 'that has eluded previous governments'...

 Such a consensus can then form the basis for renewed peace talks and an end to the conflict.

Comment by tamilnation.org  Southern "consensus building" over several decades -

...One of the essential elements that must be kept in mind in understanding the Sri Lankan ethnic conflict is that, since 1958 at least, every time Tamil politicians negotiated some sort of power-sharing deal with a Sinhalese government - regardless of which party was in power - the opposition Sinhalese party always claimed that the party in power had negotiated away too much. In almost every case - sometimes within days - the party in power backed down on the agreement..." - (Professor Marshall Singer, at US Congress Committee on International Relations Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific Hearing on Sri Lanka November 14,1995)

"...Beginning in the mid-1950s Sri Lanka's politicians from the majority Sinhalese community resorted to ethnic outbidding as a means to attain power and in doing so systematically marginalised the country's minority Tamils...parties in power seek to promote dubious conflict resolution only to be checkmated by the respective opposition which typically claims that the proposed solutions are bound to eventually dismember the island"  Neil Devotta in From ethnic outbidding to ethnic conflict: the institutional bases for Sri Lanka's separatist war, 2005

A national peace will not only bring an end to the fighting that has left more than 30,000 dead, and hundreds of thousands displaced from their homes, it will help improve the human rights situation, propel the Sri Lankan economy to new heights, and create a virtual cycle of prosperity and peace.

Comment by tamilnation.org  The vision of 'properity and  peace'  reasonates with the words in the U.S. State Department's Annual Human Rights Report to Congress released on February 1985 barely 18 months after Genocide '83 -

"Sri Lanka is an open, working, multiparty democracy. Citizens elect their president, members of parliament, and local government officials by universal adult suffrage. All laws including acts extending the state of emergency, must be approved by the Parliament... The Constitution guarantees the independence of the judiciary, and lawyers and judges are held in high esteem."

"...The progressive destruction of the political process in Sri Lanka has led to both domestic and international tolerance of an enormous amount of violence by the government (regardless of party affiliation) against its citizens. Increasingly, it seems that the government of Sri Lanka is accountable to no one - not its citizens, and not its foreign counterparts who rubber-stamped the recent parliamentary elections. In Sri Lanka's current political climate, power seems to be determined by the number of thugs a given politician has at his/her disposal..." Sri Lanka's Elections 2000: Fear and Intimidation Rule the Day - An Observer's Report - Laura Gross

Ladies and gentlemen, Sri Lanka must not let this chance pass. The United States, together with its Co-Chair partners and friends such as India, stand ready to do everything we can to encourage and help Sri Lanka seize this historic opportunity.

Comment by tamilnation.org  But apparently not 'friends such as China'. After all, it would be somewhat naive to imagine that Ambassador Blake had somehow forgotten the geo political interests of the country that he has the honour to serve - so well. See also -

Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse leaves for China, 25 February 2007  "Among the Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) to be signed during the President's visit are the Hambantota Port development project, Oil exploration in the Western coast, student exchange, cultural co-operation, agriculture, corporate and economic co-operation, eye donation and co-operation in urban development and water supply. "
"China fear" to "China fever" - Pallavi Aiyar, 27 February 2006
China's Strategy of Containing India - Dr. Mohan Malik, 6 February 2006
India's Project Seabird and the Indian Ocean's Balance of Power, 20 July 20005
China's Submarine Base in Maldives, 8 May 2005
China undertakes construction of Hambantota Port, 11 April 2005
 

Thank you.

National Peace Council Donors

Academy for Educational Development (AED)
British High Commission
Danish Development Co-operation Office (DADECO)
Development Alternative Inc (DAI)
Embassy of Japan
European Union (EU)
Facilitating Local Initiatives for Conflict Transformation (FLICT), a project implemented through the German Agency for Technical Co-operation (GTZ)
National Democratic Institute Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation (NORAD)
Swedish International Development Agency (Sida)
Asia Foundation

 

 
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