Sinhala  Tamil    Seperate    
Governtment of Sri Lanka

2006 to 2009: All Party Talks

While the Government was attempting to engage the LTTE in talks, H.E. the President decided to bring the parties represented in Parliament H.E. the President addressing the All Party Representative Committee.together to discuss a political solution to the conflict.

In June 2006, the All Party Representative Committee was established, under the chairmanship of the Hon. Minister Tissa Witharana, leader of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party.  Its mandate was to reach consensus on a package of measures to guarantee the rights of Tamils. 

Throughout 2007, the Government sought a resumption of talks with the LTTE, but was told by the Norwegian Ambassador, who visited Kilinochchi in August, that the LTTE was unwilling.  Attempts at informal talks, through calls from the Peace Secretariat to the LTTE's Peace Secretariat, and through messages sent via the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, were also repulsed.

By then, the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission was down to a shadow of its former self, and was unable to issue rulings on violations of the Ceasefire Agreement, since the LTTE had refused to allow nationals of European Union states to serve.  It had also fired on a vessel bearing Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission representatives, which led to the cessation of naval monitoring.

In these circumstances, the Government pressed ahead with negotiations with other parties, focused on Tamil groups committed to pluralism and democracy.  While the Opposition had withdrawn from the All Party Representative Committee by this time, parties representing Tamils, Up-Country Tamils and Muslims were all participating.  The political solution on which they were attempting to reach agreement could no longer be held back by the intransigence of a single organisation, and one that had not demonstrated the slightest interest in coexistence.

Chief Minister of the Eastern Province Mr. S. Chandrakanthan, former member of the LTTE, being congratulated on his appointment by Provincial Minister Mr. M.L.A.M. Hisbullah.The Ceasefire Agreement was formally abrogated in January 2008, which facilitated the adoption of interim measures such as the election of an Eastern Provincial Council.  Since LTTE hosility to the Indo-Lanka Accord of 1987 had led to there being no provincial government in the North or East, this was a historic opportunity for the people in those areas to elect their own administrations.

Unlike in the first election of 1988, when parties divided on ethnic lines, both major national parties led coalitions consisting of Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese.  The Government coalition won, and a Tamil former combatant was appointed Chief Minister.  Mr. S. Chandrakanthan of the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal was sworn in on 16 May 2008.



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