A call for truce and dialogue
The current escalation of hostilities is alarming and has spread immense human suffering and sorrow overnight. If it continues, it can lead to a large scale war that very few Sri Lankans want.
It is most disappointing that the differences that sparked off these hostilities were negotiable and could have been resolved amicably. The Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE have a long and much appreciated tradition of negotiating the sharing of facilities and natural resources. The A9 road was opened up this way and is used by all communities. It is regrettable that we were unable to draw on this tradition to deal with the Maavilaru water issue, and its spillover effect in Muttur.
The present differences centre on a humanitarian need and can still be resolved through dialogue and a 'give and take' policy. The people of all communities in and around Maavilaru, Serunuwara and the surrounding villages must have equal access to water and food supplies. It is imperative that the GoSL and LTTE find a way of ensuring the supply of these basic human needs.
The actions and decisions that have provoked this situation are not abstract, neither are they sacrosanct. They have costly repercussions on the sacred lives and destiny of our people. They have caused death and displacement and untold hardship, especially in Muttur and amongst the poor of the land. With each additional killing and short term military victory or defeat, false prestige and revenge is provoked and the evil cycle destroys more.
Consequently and in the name of our shared humanity I call upon the GoSL and LTTE to:
exercise restraint and refrain from any further provocative actions and impulsive military initiatives,
immediately agree on a cessation of hostilities, beginning with a truce to enable food and medical supplies to reach the civilian population, and
shift to the higher position of negotiations and return to the CFA.
How many more fellow Sri Lankans must be killed for us to learn that we have access to a much better way of resolving differences?
The Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera
Bishop of Colombo