Terrorism Update
Show/Hide Search
    Click to Enlarge

Statement by Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Trond Furuhovde, Head, Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, Following a Briefing with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe, On Violence in the East, October 16, 2002

Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) chief Major General (Retd.) Trond Furuhovde met with and briefed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe, in Colombo, consequent to his visit to violence-torn parts in the East. He said the situation was fragile and tense and advised the Sri Lankan security forces as well as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to talk to each other and work together. It was the best method to deal with volatile situations, he opined. He asked the security forces to avoid using unnecessary force, show flexibility and desist from provocative actions. At the same time, he also called upon the naval wing of the LTTE, the Sea Tigers, to be disciplined and avoid provoking the security forces. Besides, he asked the LTTE to respect democratic values, take responsibility and as well as take care of Tamils. He also appreciated the determination of the government and the LTTE to make the ongoing peace talks a success.

Presented below is the full text of the statement issued by the General and circulated by the SLMM

Recent violent events in Ampara and Trincomalee districts have clearly shown how fragile and sensitive the situation is at this time in the peace process. Innocent people have once again lost their lives or been injured, tension has been created and fear psychosis has grown. You have seen irresponsible and destructive elements in the society attempting to break the confidence you have carefully built up during the ceasefire. These elements do not want a peaceful solution to the conflict and are ready to sacrifice lives of innocent people to achieve their goals. You must also be aware that there can be considerable difference between the parties and the individuals in their ranks. Sometimes a Government soldier or a cadre is involved in violent or irresponsible behaviour. That does not mean that the Government or the LTTE is behind such behaviour. Disloyal members of both parties will eventually be identified. I have seen that the top leaders of both parties and their commanders on the ground are determined to promote the peaceful situation in Sri Lanka so that the peace talks can succeed.

The strong will for peace among those who are responsible in this country has also been demonstrated following the recent violence. SLMM is now supporting the Government forces and the LTTE in increasing close cooperation and direct communications between their commanders in the North and East. They must talk to each other and work together, because that is the best way to handle volatile situations on the ground and prevent violence. These efforts have already given a positive signal for the future. The Political Headquarters of LTTE in Kilinochchi have promised full participation and agreed to support such work. After my meetings with Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka and Tilak Marapone, Minister of Defence, on Monday, it is clear that this cooperation will be increased in the near future. After these meetings, it is also clear that the concept of operations of the Police in the North and East needs to be adjusted. This will improve normalcy and be of direct benefit to the public in these areas. We discussed the necessity of identifying irresponsible and destructive elements and the importance of quick reaction to prevent violence.

Sometimes I hear that members of the armed forces feel they are being forced to bend backwards as if it were a negative situation. But in this situation, bending backwards is a professional behaviour to avoid violence and bloodshed. The police must be firm and professional in maintaining law and order. They must be well trained and able to handle difficult situations such as demonstrations in a peaceful manner. The Army and the STF must avoid using unnecessary force and show discipline and flexibility in cooperation with LTTE. The Navy must control the territorial sea avoiding unnecessary provocation. The Sea Tigers of the LTTE must also avoid provocation and show discipline. The LTTE has to take responsibility, demonstrate care for their people and respect democratic values. The public probably has the most important role. Do not believe everything you hear. Do not listen to those who promote violence, listen to yourselves and those who want to protect lives. You must have the courage not to accept injustice from anyone. The best way to support the responsible authorities on both sides is to report injustice done to you and assist in identifying the forces that commit or try to spark violence. Avoid hartals and demonstrations that can create dangerous situations. Support each other.

I am convinced that both the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE are solidly behind the Peace Process. But they need the support from all of us. Follow a courageous leadership that cares about the country’s future and takes responsibility. We also, must practice patience, justice and courage in our daily life. And through the common effort of every individual in every corner of the country we can secure a Peaceful Future.


Major General Trond Furuhovde
Head, Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission
October 16, 2002





Copyright © 2001 SATP. All rights reserved.