As an Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) team left for Geneva , important information surrounding the Southern Consensus arrived between dominant political parties stressing on political settlement to the ethnic strife is emanating. While the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and United National Party (UNP) consensus agrees that the state has the paramount duty to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity, it concedes that “the eventual solution to the ethnic issue has to be political in character” through “action at the political level.”
The document says that the Central or Federal Government should be only concerned with national issues such as defense, security, diplomacy, finance, election management, national-level planning, immigration, navigation, and shipping and leave all else to “local administrators.” It talks about power-sharing in a “participatory system” with maximum devolution but does not mention Federalism, unitary, or the so-called “Indian model.” In other words, the documents agrees that an “equitable framework for power-sharing” is necessary where “the Central Government would be invested with all the powers, functions and responsibilities essential for the effective conduct of the national policy” and “other matters will fall within the purview of regional administrators.” It also promises “access to adequate resources” for “regional administrators” so they could “effectively” discharge their duties. It also concedes that this political solution should be acceptable to the Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim communities.
Meanwhile, the LTTE team has left for Geneva from Colombo . Unlike earlier, this time around, the Lankan Government has been extremely forthcoming to grant “safe passage” to the Tamil negotiators and has also lined up an impressive set of political and bureaucrat team to negotiate peace with the Tamils. The LTTE says that an agenda for the talks has not been decided although the Government has proposed a seven-point agenda including “pluralism, democracy, human rights and child recruitment.” The Government had also reiterated that it does not want to get bogged down with the nitty-gritty of the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement (CFA).