Sri Lanka is ready for federalism: President, XINHUA
Mon November 15, 2004 13:27 EST .
COLOMBO, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga said her country is now ready for federalism to resolve the conflict between the government and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a local website reported Monday. Responding to a question in an interview that if Sri Lanka - is ready for federalism, the president said quite definitely yes, according to the Lankapage website.
Kumaratunga said recently in the interview that her main coalition partner the leftist JVP or People's Liberation Front is also in agreement that there should be some form of power-sharing.
One of our partners may not agree, but they are also looking at it seriously. Don't forget that the JVP has also come a long way. When they started talking with us, they were not even talking of a negotiated settlement (with the LTTE), said the president.
The LTTE rebels had been fighting against government forces to set up an independent Tamil homeland in the north and east since 1983 until they entered into a Norwegian-brokered cease-fire in February 2002. Decades of conflicts have claimed more than 60,000 lives.
The government and the LTTE have held six rounds of direct negotiations between September 2002 and April 2003.
In November last year the rebels, who had agreed to explore a federal setup in preference to their ultimate goal of a separate Tamil state, came up with the interim power sharing plan for the war-torn regions which the analysts have pointed as going beyond fundamentals of federalism.
The government maintains that the LTTE plan could be discussed only as part of a final solution, but the rebels are said to be maintaining the position that their plan must form the basis for resumption of talks. The Norwegian facilitators have been trying to revive the stalled peace talks since May this year but their efforts have been futile so far.
Copyright 2004 XINHUA all rights reserved as distributed by WorldSources, Inc.
Published: Mon Nov 15 16:31:58 EST 2004