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Monday, 17 February, 2003, 09:24 GMT
What is the future for Sri Lanka's peace talks?
The suicide of three Tamil Tiger rebels caught smuggling arms off the coast of Sri Lanka has cast a shadow over peace talks taking place in Germany.

The rebels blew up their boat after truce monitors found weapons on board in violation of a ceasefire accord.

Despite the incident, a fifth round of talks got under way hours later, with the two sides blaming a failure of communication and regretting the "tragic loss of three lives".

But correspondents say the incident could not have come at a worse time as it will fuel suspicions in Sri Lanka that the Tigers cannot be trusted.

Are people right to mistrust the rebels? Can a fighting force turn itself into a political party? What has peace delivered so far in Sri Lanka? Tell us what you think.


Thank you for your comments; this debate is now closed. A selection of your e-mails is published below.

It's seems the LTTE never learned from its past mistakes. They have to understand today's world is never going to accept their way of solving problems. Also they have to understand that most of Singhalese first time in srilankan modern history want share power with Tamils even though some Singhalese chauvinists shouting against it. If they don't grasp the chance now it would be too late to feel sorry about themselves.
SANJ, India/USA

Is it the Tamil Tiger Freedom Fighters who should be trusted or the successive Sinhalese Sri Lankan Governments since 1976 who betrayed the trust that the Tamil minority placed in them??
Balu .Ratneser, Australia.

Nothing much will happen with the peace talks except that the Tigers are buying time, rearming themselves
Thomas Jones, Jaffna, Sri Lanka

I can't understand how international community can ignore this as trivial

Lakshman, Sri Lanka
The main point is Tigers are still smuggling arms with ulterior motives. The suicides and blasting of a boat is incidental. It's sad to see media is diverting the attention from the main point. I can't understand how international community can ignore this as trivial.
Lakshman, Sri Lanka

As a Tamil who had to leave the country with my family as a child I have been watching the processes as an outsider. I have lost the faith in this process. We won't see peace for a long, long time. I think they should just kill each other as they have been doing for the past 20 years. Because they are not able to live together, none of them, either they are Tamils or Singhalese, they are too proud to admit that they can live together.
Pratheep, UK

What ever the reason behind this tragedy is insignificant at this stage of the peace process. The main focus should be on winning back the trust of the Tamil people who have been let down by the consecutive Sri Lankan governments. They have been suffering for far too long and this peace process has done too little for them so far. Hundreds of thousands are still homeless. Many of them are deprived of basic needs. It is about time they talked about these issues which will at the end form the basis of a harmonious society in Sri Lanka.
Arivu Mahan, Australia

How can the Tigers trust the Sri Lankan army & navy when they are not allowing people to re-settle in their homes & lands? The army & navy are still building new camps. Sri Lankan forces too are recruiting new soldiers. Both sides don't trust each other. The forces should stop occupying schools, churches and homes. They should return them to the people. Chandrika, Buddhist monks, JVP and the Tiger leaders should act in a responsible way. If Chandrika is so worried about Tigers recruiting child soldiers, she should stop making racist speeches and instigating the masses against the peace accord.
R. Spencer, UK

Time and time again Tigers have betrayed their own people and the world community. My guess is LTTE will drag their feet in the peace process, strengthen their forces, and will wait until the world changes its focus from anti-terrorism to something else. Then continue to do what they have been doing the last 20 years.
NP, USA

It would be too idealistic to expect immediate compliance

Igonikon Jack, USA
The suicides, along with other previous violations on both sides are regrettable, potential obstacles to the Sri Lankan peace process. But it would be too idealistic to expect absolute, immediate compliance and accommodation by all parties, used to violent and militaristic way of life. Attention should be focused on getting a functional government of national unity representing all Sri Lankans and all factions, so as to establish a democratic, constitutional, sovereign system that can bring about law and order, and, also, attract foreign investments to this once-thriving South Asian nation.
Igonikon Jack, USA

New observers of the Sri Lankan conflict may miss the main reason behind the recent tragic incident of the boat being blown up. In 1987, the Tamil Tigers lost top commanders when the Sri Lankan forces took advantage of the Tigers' guard being down during a ceasefire. In 1993, the Tigers lost one of their senior most commanders when the Indian Navy ventured into international waters (illegally, as admitted by Indian Courts) and attempted to capture him.

It is not a question of whether the Tigers can be trusted, but whether the Sri Lankan armed forces can win the trust of the Tigers. The reluctance of the Sri Lankan forces to allow a million displaced Tamils to resettle in their own homes does little to win that trust, and makes a mockery of the peace process.
Krishna Jeyaraj, UK


Peace efforts

Background

BBC SINHALA SERVICE

BBC TAMIL SERVICE

TALKING POINT
See also:

07 Feb 03 | South Asia
05 Feb 03 | South Asia
06 Feb 03 | South Asia
31 Jan 03 | South Asia
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