Dreaming of a War-Free Future

By Bullion, Alan | The World Today, December 2002 | Go to article overview

Dreaming of a War-Free Future


Bullion, Alan, The World Today


SRI LANKA

After nineteen years of bloody conflict, in which over sixty five thousand soldiers and civilians were killed, Sri Lanka is at last heading for an apparently fruitful and constructive peace process. Two main factors have contributed to this - changed domestic political and economic circumstances, and the overarching influence of United States President George Bush's 'war" against terror.

A NORWEGIAN-BROKERED 'permanent' ceasefire was agreed in February between the Tamil Tiger rebels and the right-of-centre United National Front (UNF) government led by Ranil Wickremesinghe, elected a year ago. This laid the groundwork for the first direct peace talks in seven years, which took place in mid-September in Thailand. So far, despite minor violations, the ceasefire has held, and further rounds of negotiations are scheduled over the coming months.

At the first round of talks in Thailand, the Tigers, who had been fighting since 1983 for a separate state of Tamil Eelam, indicated that they would be prepared to settle for some form of `substantial autonomy' or `self-government' in the north and east of the country. Chief negotiator Anton Balasingham said that separation through continued struggle was only a means of `last resort' if the Tigers were not offered `meaningful self-determination. The Tigers, who entered discussions from a position of strength, have set the political parameters for future debate.

As long as this series of negotiations holds, the conflict resolution process will follow a political path. Colombo now has time to come up with a political model that incorporates principles of regional autonomy with self-governance. Professor Gamini Peiris, the head of the government delegation, was clear about its aims: We stand unwaveringly for the amplest degree of devolution and for the establishment and strengthening of institutions designed for this purpose. But these reforms must necessarily be effected within the framework of a state whose unity and territorial integrity is ensured in fact and in law by the envisioned structures.'

The contribution of Norway as third party facilitator has been crucial. Norway has been involved in several such initiatives over the last decade, most notably in framing the 1993 Oslo Accords that helped to shape discussions between Israelis and Palestinians. However, the recent failure of that process, critics saying it did not satisfy aspirations either for full statehood or meaningful autonomy, is a timely warning for all parties in Sri Lanka.

TIGER ECONOMY

The most urgent message from the Thai talks was the need for international financial support for peace. This is no surprise, as economic pressures have weighed heavily on the Sri Lankan state, particularly since the devastating attack by the Tigers on the island's main airport near Colombo in July last year. This led to a steep decline in tourist arrivals, together with a huge drop in foreign investment. The economic imperatives are significant, given that most donors such as Norway, the US and Britain have linked financial backing to the resolution of the conflict. An international donors' conference was scheduled for November 25 in the expectation that Japan and other countries would pledge support.

The war has cost the government up to one billion dollars a year in defence spending, which is equivalent to over five percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Wickremesinghe recently addressed business leaders in New York and hopes to attract foreign capital back to the island, which has suffered its first recession since independence from Britain in 1948. Last year the country's GDP declined by 1.4 percent. Western diplomats believe this was partly responsible for pushing the government towards peace.

As a result of the talks, the stock market is enjoying a boom and inward foreign direct investment is expected to reach $240 million this year, up from an earlier forecast of $190 million. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Dreaming of a War-Free Future
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.