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Peace Process in Sri Lanka


V. Suryanarayan

NEGOTIATING PEACE IN SRI LANKA: EFFORTS, FAILURES AND LESSONS, 2 VOLUMES
Edited by Kumar Rupesinghe
The Foundation for Co-Existence, Colombo, 2006, pp. 471, Rs. 1400.00

PEACE PROCESS IN SRI LANKA: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES
Edited by V.R. Raghavan
East West Books, Chennai, 2007, pp. 147, Rs. 450.00

NEGOTIATING WITH THE TIGERS (LTTE) (2002-2005): A VIEW FROM THE SECOND ROW
Edited by John Gooneratne
Stamford Lake Publication, Colombo, 2007, pp. 250, Rs. 700.00

VOLUME XXXII NUMBER 2 February 2008

The peace process in Sri Lanka since February 2002 Ceasefire Agreement has gone through several twists and turns: a) Six rounds of talks between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) from September 2002 to March 2003; b) The LTTE pullout from direct talks; c) A new government after April 2004 parliamentary elections; d) A new President after the presidential elections in November 2005 and e) The current period of military confrontation. Though the two parties have not officially announced the end of the ceasefire, the agreement is in tatters and an undeclared war is raging in the island. A long winter of discontent is ahead of Sri Lanka. The collection of papers brought together by Kumar Rupesinghe reflects a wide range of opinions with respect to Sri Lanka. The editor has not made any attempt to modify the opinions expressed by the authors. The International Alert published the first edition of the first volume in 1998. Kumar Rupesinghe was the Secretary General of the organization then. A selective reprinting of the first volume, combined with contributions relating to the wide-ranging negotiations between the UNP led government and the LTTE are included in Volume 2. At the time of publication in 2006, the ceasefire agreement was subjected to severe stresses and strains and an undeclared war in the East was already on. There was greater international interest in peace making in Sri Lanka and the Norwegian mediation had received considerable support, cutting across political barriers. After the bitter experience of 1987–89, India was not eager to get actively involved in the peace process, though it remained a friendly neighbour, committed to the unity and territorial integrity of the island and justice to all sections of the population.   As is well known, there had been a number of efforts to bring about a negotiated political solution to the conflict, starting with the Thimpu talks in 1985, facilitated by India. What are the lessons that can be learnt from these past efforts? Volume I is devoted to the Thimpu Talks, the India-Sri Lanka Accord of 1987, Premadasa-LTTE negotiations, and the negotiations between Chandrika Kumaratunga Government and the LTTE. Volume 2, as mentioned earlier, focuses on the peace efforts undertaken by the United National Front (UNF) Government under Prime Minister Ranil Wikramasinghe and the LTTE from December 2001 to 2004, when the Peoples Alliance Government came back to power. The contributors include some of the key players like J.N. Dixit, ...


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