S

ome Reflections On Rajiva’s

Revelations On “How Negotiations

With The

TNA Failed”

by Laksiri Fernando
(June 4, 2014, Sydney, Sri Lanka Guardian) Those who are

concerned with poitica reconciiation and on! ter" peace in the country "ust thank #ro$

%a&i'a (i&esinha )# (*#F+) $or his recent re'eations, athou!h those "i!ht be construed by

the !o'ern"ent circes as back stabbin! and,or betraya- +thou!h the re'eaed docu"entation,

i"ited to a $i'e point discussion note and three sketchy co""unications between (i&esinha

and Sa&in .as Gunawardane, a!ain a *#F+ )# but a "onitorin! one, does not e/pose any

sensiti'e in$or"ation, the narrati'e as we as the contents a"py de"onstrate the scant and

ackadaisica "anner that the "ost i"portant ne!otiations with the T0+ were conducted a$ter

the concusion o$ the war in )ay 2001-
2t is not cear or re'eaed that how "any rounds o$ ne!otiations or discussions were hed

ato!ether between the !o'ern"ent dee!ation and the T0+, but by the ti"e (i&esinha had

&oined the process in +pri 2011, those can be counted as $our since 10 January 2011- Then by

the end o$ the year the ne!otiations co"petey ca"e to a hat or $aied- 2t is $airy docu"ented

that the T0+ had sub"itted proposas $or ne!otiations by the second "eetin! in eary February

and the $irst co"pain (i&esinha has "ade is that 32 $ound that no response had been "ade to

su!!estions they 4T0+5 had "ade a coupe o$ "onths pre'iousy,6 addin! that he $ound that

3this was absurd, and ur!ed a response-6
(i&esinha was in $act a ateco"er to the process, repacin! the position e$t by the $or"er #ri"e

)inister, %atnasiri (ickre"anayake, who apparenty $ound the ne!otiations were !oin!

nowhere by the end o$ )arch 2011- 2 recoect "eetin! )inister (ickre"anayake with three

other acade"ic coea!ues in "id7February on a ((ord 8ank) study that we were co"petin!

on 9:e'oution and the Finance ;o""ission< and he was 'ery candid to say that it was a

di$$icut task with the T0+ 9as they ha'e not chan!ed their "indset-< 2t was we known,

howe'er, that (ickre"anayake was a hardiner e'en within the SLF# circes on the Ta"i

=uestion and pacin! hi" there to ne!otiate aso a"ounted to puttin! hi" into an e"barrassin!

position in the $irst pace- (hen 2 had a persona "o"ent a$ter the $or"a discussions, he was

aso e/pressin! his dissatis$action on the ack o$ cear !uideines as what to ne!otiate with the

T0+- #resident ;handrika >u"aratun!a, $or e/a"pe woud not ha'e put hi" into such an

akward position- This is not so"ethin! he said, but "y $rank readin! o$ the situation-
2t was not cear $ro" the outset who was eadin! the !o'ern"ent dee!ation, whie %-

Sa"panthan was ceary hodin! that position $ro" the T0+ side- ?$ course (ickre"anayake

was the "ost senior and as so"e newspapers reported, he was eadin!, and in that case, who

was eadin! or in char!e a$ter his resi!nation@ (&esinha does not !i'e any indication to that

e$$ect either-
)ost i"portanty, what was .as Gunawardane<s position@ The three e"ai co""unications

=uoted re'ea that .as Gunawardane was cain! the shots which shoud not ha'e been the case

when )inisters 0i"a Siripaa de Si'a and #ro$ G- L- #eiris were there with "uch e/perience

and seniority-

?n the other hand, there was nothin! wron! a person ike .as Gunawardane bein! the

coordinator or the Secretary, but that shoud ha'e been $or"ay appro'ed or known at east

within the ne!otiatin! tea"-
There$ore, it is entirey correct $or (i&esinha to pace the onus $or the $aiure o$ the

ne!otiations, on the part o$ the !o'ern"ent, ar!ey on .as Gunawardane-
Two o$ the procedura "atters that (i&esinha has hi!hi!hted are (1) the absence o$ proper

interna "eetin!s to dea with the proposas or 'iews e"er!in! $ro" the T0+ dee!ation and

(2) ack o$ "inutes takin! on the part o$ the !o'ern"ent dee!ation or the absence o$ procedure

to do so, in 'iew o$ the T0+ takin! their own "inutes- 2n respect o$ the interna "eetin!s o$ the

!o'ern"ent dee!ation, the $oowin! is what (i&esinha has saidA
3*n$ortunatey there were no "eetin!s o$ our dee!ation to re'iew such "atters- (e coud not

take thin!s $urther, e'en thou!h 2 did "ana!e, by insistin! by dates $or the ne/t "eetin! bein!

$i/ed whene'er we "et, to ha'e re!uar "eetin!s, whereas pre'iousy these were $ew and $ar

between, and there was no continuity-6
2t is aso in that respect that (i&esinha has 'ery ceary accused .as Gunawardane, rather

sarcasticay, that 32t was perhaps because there was so"e pro!ress that Sa&in .as Gunawardena

stopped tein! "e about "eetin!s-6
Ba'in! known #ro$ (i&esinha in se'era *ni'ersity Grants ;o""ission (*G;) sub7
co""ittees, be$ore 200C, 2 ha'e no hesitation to beie'e hi" and aso to appreciate hi" in his

"ethodica "anner o$ deain! with "eetin!s and "inutes- Bowe'er, it is apparent that he was

aso cau!ht up in the "id7strea" where thin!s were !oin! haywire without any direction $ro"

the be!innin!-
2 beie'e it was up to the #resident, in consutation with )r- Sa"panthan as the T0+ eader, to

put up or a!ree upon an +!enda and a #rocedure $or the ne!otiations $or the respecti'e

dee!ations to $oow up- 2$ that was done, prior to the co""ence"ent o$ the ne!otiations in

January 2011, then the "uch co"pained T0+ proposas shoud not ha'e "er!ed at east in

that "anner- (hat (i&esinha apparenty had been doin! was $ire$i!htin!-
2 a" not here co""entin! on the "erits or de"erits o$ (i&esinha<s (o'erappin!) $i'e points

that he has apparenty put $orward $or a discussion within the !o'ern"ent dee!ation on the

T0+ proposas-

8ut it is apparent that those are not pointed or cohesi'e enou!h to "ake any sense $or any

practica consideration within the conte/t o$ de'oution or poitica soution,s to the "ain

disa!ree"ents-
2t is surprisin! why the !o'ern"ent and the T0+ didn<t anchor their i""ediate poitica

ne!otiations on the i"pe"entation o$ the 1Dth +"end"ent and this "eans particuary (1) the

hodin! o$ the 0#; eections and (2) sortin! out o$ the two "ain contentious issues o$ and and

poice powers- The other contentious issue o$ 9concurrent ist< coud ha'e been postponed

throu!h an a!ree"ent- 2$ there had been an a!ree"ent on the $irst "atter to hod the eections,

$or e/a"pe by "id72011, then there coud ha'e been an interi" a!ree"ent on how to hande

the and issues and the poice "atters particuary in the 0orthern and the Eastern pro'inces

with i""ediate e$$ect- There were o$ course so"e 9e/tra7poitica "atters< that i"pin!ed on

poitics such as the presence o$ the "iitary, their ad"inistrati'e roe and the paces that they

were occupyin!, that shoud ha'e been sorted out durin! the ne!otiations, the $aiure o$ which

has now enar!ed into a rather per"anent poitica probe"- (hat was patheticay absent was

an a!enda with a priority ist that needed to be addressed in the short and the "ediu" ter"

a!reed by both dee!ations-
(hat the co""unications re'ea is not ony the chaotic nature o$ the !o'ern"ent ne!otiations

but aso the bad bood between the !o'ern"ent ne!otiators- 2n ter"s o$ proposas, the

!o'ern"ent dee!ation has not aways put $orward a &oint 'iew it see"s- 8y eary )ay, $irst the

proposa $or a Senate had taken pro"inence, but then (i&esinha co"pains that 3instead o$

takin! that discussion $urther, 3G L #ieris, at the ne/t "eetin!, produced su!!estions about

Loca Go'ern"ent-6 This is aso a$ter in$or"in! (i&esinha that he shoud not su!!est anythin!

newF 2t "ust ha'e been the case that (i&esinha was bit o$ chaotic or indi'iduaistic in his

deain!s- Bowe'er, what was !ood $or the !oose shoud ha'e been !ood $or the !ander-
)ost re'eain! is the deain!s with the T0+ dee!ation- 2t appears that the idea o$ a Senate was

paced $or discussion by (i&esinha $irst (21 +pri), athou!h it was ori!inay an idea o$ the

#resident hi"se$-

(i&esinha was tod howe'er, ob'iousy by others, 9it shoud not $i!ure too ar!e-< Then he

&u"ped the !un, by sendin! a dra$t to Su"anthiran, "andated by the others as he cai"s- Then

ca"e the other proposa sent to the T0+ and the 9Leak< to the press, this ti"e apparenty by .as

Gunawardane hi"se$, !i'in! three options $or a Senate<s co"position on which the :aiy

)irror ob'iousy had a $ied day on the issue- 2t was apparenty a di$$erent 'ersion to

(i&esinha<s e'en without his knowed!e as a "e"ber o$ the dee!ation-
2t is "ost i"portant $or pubic discussion i$ #ro$ (i&esinha aso coud re'ea his proposa and

the entire co""unication to )r- Su"anthiran- 2 a" pubicy re=uestin! this re'eation or 9eak<

not because 2 consider a Senate is such an i"portant ee"ent in a poitica soution, but to

understand what was in $act !oin! on between the two dee!ations durin! (another) $aied

ne!otiations in 2011- To "ake a prei"inary concusion $ro" the in$or"ation that we ha'e so

$ar on the !o'ern"ent7T0+ ne!otiations, pri"ariy re'eaed by (i&esinha, it appears that it is

another cassic case o$ how not to ne!otiate, at east on the part o$ the !o'ern"ent-

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