Japan’s special envoy Yasushi Akashi decalred this week that the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran closed down windows of opportunity for himself and his group one by one from 2002 onwards.
Addressing the Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2009 organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Akashi said some of the opportunities and options came by way of the Norwegian-sponsored peace talks, possible shapes of a power-sharing system, an invitation to participate at the Tokyo conference on rehabilitation and development in 2003 and the post-tsunami joint rehabilitation mechanism.
“The final misjudgment came with the LTTE leader’s directive to the Tamil people not to participate in the presidential election in November 2005,” the Japanese peace envoy noted.
He said he had heard a great deal of discussion about the alleged responsibility of the international community for the failure to achieve peace in the country, but the ultimate responsibility for war and peace in any conflict must rest with parties to the conflict.
“Mediators and facilitators can only offer some assistance and encouragement. In other words, they can bring the horse to water, but cannot make it drink,” he said.
Mr. Akashi said that looking at the huge humanitarian challenges that has arisen as a result of the military conflict, he believed that Sri Lanka was now faced with a unique and non-recurrent opportunity to build a truly united country where people of all backgrounds would be finally reconciled with each other.