Sri Lankan Minister Kehelia Rambukwella in an interview with the BBC’s Sinhala.com program said yesterday (2 January) that the Government is withdrawing from the internationally brokered 2002 Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) signed with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) . Rambukwella, the cabinet spokesman denied that this is an official declaration of war but said the Government was concerned about national security.
Asked by BBC Sinhala program about the status of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) established as an integral part of the CFA, the minister said “These are the things that will follow on this. It will be done according to whatever the protocols that are available to us.”
The first two days of the new year in Sri Lanka has been bloody and violent. An opposition United National Party (UNP) member of Parliament T. Maheswaran was gunned down on the first of January as he worshipped at the Sivan Kovil (Tamil temple) in a Colombo suburb Kotahena. As disturbing photos and story of this tragedy hit the news stands on the 2 January a claymore bomb exploded in the city and blew up a military bus killing 4 and injuring another 22.
The Cabinet unanimously approved the prime minister’s proposal to pull out from the 2002 truce, Media Minister Anura Yapa told the Associated Press. “The cease-fire, brokered by Norway, had been considered the best chance of ending two decades of civil war between the government and the Tamil Tiger rebels, who seek an independent homeland for ethnic Tamils in the north and east. But major fighting erupted again two years ago,” AP said in an article today reproduced in the British Guardian newspaper.
The pro-LTTE Tamilnet website in an article titled Colombo to Annul CFA said that “The February 2002 agreement, in its paragraph 4.4, specifies that the agreement shall remain in force until notice of termination is given by either Party to the Royal Norwegian Government. Such notice shall be given fourteen (14) days in advance of the effective date of termination.”