The Foreign Minister's Foibles

by Wakeley Paul, Esq.

In a frantic reach for a moral high ground, Mr Kadirgamar went overboard in embracing the JVP as his most reasonable, bosom buddy, whose ever-present desire to reach an agreement with the LTTE has been unbounded.  Donít let their statements to Reuters and others, where they have expressed their strongest opposition to such an arrangement, send ripples of anxiety down your suspicious spines, he suggests.  The JVP are a jolly decent bunch of fellows, not a bunch of racists who fed their constituents on a diet of belligerent racism. That is all just false propaganda, he cries disdainfully.

None of this false bravado seems to have impressed his astute and relentless BBC interviewer, Ms. Zeinab Badawi, who certainly succeeded in casting Mr Kadirgamar in the poor light he deserves to be cast. 

We might remind The Hon. Foreign Minister that racism is not a left or right issue to be trifled with.  It is not an issue to be scared of or succumbed to, as he seems to be doing.  It is an issue to be squarely condemned, as should be its adherents.  The racist JVP should hardly be the objects of one's adulation and admiration as Mr Kadirgamar makes them.

On the questions of a joint mechanism for humanitarian needs, Mr Kadirgamar said it is being worked on, drafts are being exchanged, but the LTTE leaders have gone to Europe on some sort of mission.  This 'discussion' has been going on for 3 months and the GOSL has not come up with a solution.  The LTTE leaders went to Europe very recently on a mission to garner Tsunami aid, based on the governmentís failure to allocate funds to the NorthEast.  Does the length of the discussions reflect Mr Kadirgamar's governmentís desire to resolve the issue and allocate funds to the NorthEast, or a distinct reluctance to act?

When questioned about the refusal to allow the U N Secretary General to visit the NorthEast, the Foreign Minister gave what might best be described as a classic Kadirgamar smart alec answer.  "We advised him that they [the LTTE] would use it as a publicity gimmick."  He unwittingly fell right into the trap and was promptly and correctly accused of politicizing a humanitarian issue.  Mr. Kadirgamar's attempt to wriggle out of the government's determination to throw away an opportunity to resume dialogue based on the natural disaster, led to his losing his cool and resorting to non sequiturs.

"He [Annan] visited areas in the south," Mr. Kadirgamar said, "and we offered him the chance to go to Jaffna," which is obviously not under LTTE control.  Furthermore, is he saying the Secretary General declined the invitation to go to Jaffna?  Or os that because Annan wanted to visit the LTTE areas which were the worst affected by the Tsunami?

On the JVPís approach to peace, Mr. Kadirgamar's responses were nothing short of nauseating.  "The main point is that they are for a negotiated settlement that was thrashed out a long time ago.  They are often misrepresented.  They are not against peace.  They are for peace," he said.  If so, what is holding the peace process up?  This, in the teeth of repeated statements to the contrary by the JVP.

When the interviewer confronted Mr. Kadirgamar with the question of how could they who oppose post tsunami relief be in favor of a permanent peaceful solution, his response was "Only a few lunatics are opposed to a peaceful solution."  Sadly, the only lunatics we know of who have been doggedly opposed to a peaceful negotiation with the LTTE are the JVP, whom he so tightly embraced at this interview.

The Foreign Minister's government, in turn, has done nothing to effectuate the Oslo Accords or make any effort to come up with proposals for a regional solution. 

When told that his government had passed up a wonderful opportunity for confidence building, Mr. Kadirgamar came up with classic non sequitur, by saying "They claim to have a de facto government."  What has that to do with his governmentís having passed up an opportunity at confidence building?  This is what comes of a government representative that is willing to play games rather than seek a solution.

When told that the LTTE has been ready for a regional solution, which they have been, Mr. Kadirgamar says he has never heard of this.  The LTTE have accepted a joint Norwegian proposal to which his government has not responded. 

How ridiculous can Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister be?  In any other self-respecting nation, they would have asked for his resignation.  In a government where each official covers up for the other's slips, errors and omissions, this will not happen, especially when they are all playing the same stalling game.  They have no intention of coming up with a solution.  They are obviously resistant to change. 

They have been flip flopping from day one.  There were swiftly changing positions on the ISGA, then Jayantha Dhanapala was coming up with alternatives, now Kadirgamar says they are thinking again about the Muslims and Sinhalese in the NorthEast. 

Whatís next on the agenda, Mr Foreign Minister?  Another foreign-fueled arms build-up?  Another decade of swollen military budgets bankrupting the nation, with no peace in sight?  What will you and your government jolt us with next?

The author wishes to thank TamilNet for the quotes from the interview.

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Posted April 5, 2005