How the world reacted when Sri Lanka’s Armed Forces militarily ended LTTE terrorists
LTTE was an armed group waging terror on the citizens of Sri Lanka. Since 1980s LTTE has been either bombing, sending suicide missions, assassination squads or setting off claymore bombs virtually every day, every month for 30 years. Apart from customary statements the UN, UNHRC or so-called international community did nothing to stop LTTE or even empathize with the thousands of unarmed victims that LTTE targeted. There were no pouring of flowers or world outcry calling for LTTE to disarm. It was always calls to have tea with the terrorists timed when LTTE was cornered to enable LTTE to regroup during the talks. When so-called terrorists attacked Twin Towers in US, there was no investigation as to the culprits & instead US & NATO invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 & continue to occupy it even in 2019. Sri Lanka’s decision to military defeat LTTE came after enduring 30 years of killings, failed peace talks & ceasefires including foreign mediation. LTTE was militarily defeated after giving it several opportunities to lay down arms & surrender which LTTE refused. Sri Lanka’s Armed Forces while engaging the LTTE in battle saved close to 300,000 people which is no small achievement & that cost 6261 soldier deaths. Neither side fires roses in a battle and the Armed Forces brought to safety the people LTTE were using as human shields & hostages. Yes, civilians died – many from LTTE firing but at the end of the day, Sri Lanka has been enjoying peace which Sri Lanka didn’t have for 30 years. So we would like to tell the intruding countries & UN that did pittance to stop LTTE killings to just mind their own business without trying to hang Sri Lanka’s armed forces for eliminating terrorists – do they deserve to live & do we deserve to die if LTTE is to be given a lease? Let us see the world reactions against how they reacted post-May 2009
18 May 2009
United National Party leader Ranil Wickremasinghe, through a telephone call, congratulated President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the state’s security forces.
Archbishop Oswald Gomis issued a statement
“I congratulate His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapakse, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, for his very courageous leadership and thank the Chiefs of the Defense outfit who supported him with deep commitment and self-sacrifice..…… Let us always remember that united we will flourish but divided we will perish”
19 May 2009 – Statement by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon
“I am relieved by the conclusion of the military operation, but I am deeply troubled by the loss of so many civilian lives. The task now facing the people of Sri Lanka is immense and requires all hands. It is most important that every effort be undertaken to begin a process of healing and national reconciliation. I listened very carefully to what President Rajapaksa said in his address to Parliament today. The legitimate concerns and aspirations of the Tamil people and other minorities must be fully addressed.”
The Secretary General went on to announce his upcoming visit to the war torn region.
18 May 2009 – European Union
The European Council met in Brussels issued a statement on “the Government of Sri Lanka urgently to proceed towards a comprehensive political process” and “the President of Sri Lanka to outline a clear process leading to a fully inclusive political solution, based on consent, equality and the rule of law”. The Council stated that such moves are the only way toward long-term security, post-conflict reconstruction and prosperity in Sri Lanka. The statement concluded: “The EU continues to call for appropriate action by the United Nations Human Rights Council.”
18 May 2009 – Indian External Affairs Ministry
“In a telephone conversation with External Affairs Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee earlier today, the President of Sri Lanka confirmed that armed resistance by the LTTE has come to an end and that LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran is dead. India will work with the people and Government of Sri Lanka to provide relief to those affected by the tragic conflict, and to rapidly rehabilitate all those who have been displaced, bringing their lives to normalcy as soon as possible. It is our view that as the conventional conflict in Sri Lanka comes to an end, this is the moment when the root causes of conflict in Sri Lanka can be addressed. This would include political steps towards the effective devolution of power within the Sri Lankan Constitution so that Sri Lankans of all communities, including the Tamils, can feel at home and lead lives of dignity of their own free will.”
19 May 2009 – Iran Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki telephoning Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama
“Iran has maintained close relations with Sri Lanka and has always condemned terrorism and, consistently upheld the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka”.
19 May 2009 – Japan PM Taro Aso’s office
Japanese Prime Minister “welcomed the end of the civil war between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam”….”it is now important to help internally displaced people and their resettlement as well as to start showing improvement in the political process towards peace-building”. It also outlined that poverty was one of the factors that create fertile ground for terrorism and said he would like to see Sri Lanka build infrastructure, adding that Japan would support Sri Lanka’s efforts as much as possible.
19 May 2009 – Maldives
Both President Mohamed Nasheed and Vice-president Mohammed Waheed Hassan congratulated the government and people of Sri Lanka for their tremendous success in effecting an end to the decades-old conflict in their country. “I take this opportunity to express on behalf of the Government and the people of Maldives our sincerest best wishes to Your Excellency and the people of Sri Lanka”……”This momentous occasion in Sri Lanka’s history will pave the way towards realising greater equality and justice for all Sri Lankans.”
19 May 2009 – Pakistan Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Nawabzada Malik Amad Khan
congratulating Sri Lanka’s “great victory over terrorism”. The Pakistani State Minister stated that Pakistan has always been a steadfast friend of Sri Lanka and strongly supported the country’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity and re-affirmed his government’s continued cooperation with Sri Lanka in countering terrorism.
22 May 2009 – Philippines Foreign Affairs press release
Philippines “welcomes the return of law and order in northern Sri Lanka and supports the Government of Sri Lanka’s search for a comprehensive, fair, and lasting political solution to the problems faced by its Tamil minority. The Philippines hopes that a lasting political solution will be crafted in order that the Tamil minority share in the fruits of peace in their country.”
29 May 2009 Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Minister George Yeo
“Singapore is relieved to see an end to the long-standing conflict in Sri Lanka. The conflict had taken a great toll on the country. Not only have tens of thousands of lives been lost, but hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankan civilians have also been displaced from their homes. The final cessation of military operations by the Sri Lankan Government provides a short window of opportunity to close a sad chapter of history and quickly begin a process of genuine national healing and reconciliation. A long term agreement taking into full consideration the interests of all communities within Sri Lanka must be forged and implemented to ensure a lasting peace.”
21 May 2009 – South Africa Deputy International Relations and Cooperation Minister Ehrahim Ebrahim
“The South African government expresses grave regret at the manner in which the military offensive was conducted and urges the United Nations Human Rights Commission to urgently investigate possible violations of international human rights law and contraventions of the Geneva Convention.“,
“The South African government has noted the conciliatory tone in the speech of President Mahinda Rajapaksa on 19 May 2009 and express our hope that the end of the military campaign will result in a peaceful dialogue with all minorities to address their long standing grievances. We will continue to support any efforts aimed at bringing about peace and reconciliation between the parties.”
19 May 2009 – Norway Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store
“our thoughts go to all who have lost relatives and loved ones in the war. We must cooperate to aid the victims. People in the refugee camps must quickly be allowed to return home.” Store also said the situation in the refugee camps for internally displaced people must be improved, in line with demands made by the United Nations.
21 May 2009 Russia
“The government of Russia has extended warmest congratulations to the president and the government of Sri Lanka on the success achieved by the island nation in defeating LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) terrorism,” Russia has said that it supports the fight of the Sri Lankan government against terrorism and separatism. Russia hoped that the end to the bloody armed conflict that lasted in Sri Lanka for more than a quarter century will be a guarantee of the establishment of an enduring peace, security and stability in the country
19 May 2009 Switzerland
“regrets that international humanitarian law has been violated and appeals to all parties to comply with and to ensure respect for international regulations and obligations in all circumstances. Switzerland calls on all parties to refrain from incitement to hatred and to work towards reconciliation by means of unilateral or jointly agreed measures. All parties and groupings as well as members of the diaspora should work openly and in conjunction with international institutions to initiate a reconciliation process and a sustainable solution in the framework of a political dialogue.”
19 May 2009 United Kingdom – Foreign Secretary David Miliband
“On 19 May, the Sri Lankan President formally announced that on 18 May military forces had retaken all the territory once held by the LTTE and that they had captured or killed the senior leadership of that organisation. Many Sri Lankans of all communities, Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim, will be relieved that the long and brutal conflict may at last be over. Sri Lanka has before it an historic opportunity to resolve the underlying causes of the conflict and ensure a lasting peace. We must continue to work with Sri Lanka’s Government and all its communities to ensure that this opportunity is taken and that it leads to a sustainable end to the conflict. The continuing focus of this Government’s activity over the coming days and weeks, will be to work with international partners in encouraging the Sri Lankan Government to devote as much energy to winning the peace as it did to winning the war.”
20 May 2009 – Lord Malloch Brown, UK Minister of State Foreign and Commonwealth office & Lord Naseby
“Indeed, in our initial contacts with the president, we congratulated him on finishing of a brutal 26-year war, which was instigated by the Tamil Tigers-a terrorist group” replying to Lord Naseby who raised the matter in the House of Lords.
Agreeing with Lord Naseby, Lord Malloch Brown said, “the political solution to this must come from inside Sri Lanka from a process set up and led by President Rajapaksa.”
Brown said, “But we also made it extremely clear to him that, whether or not that victory would be seen as the opening of a new and happier chapter in Sri Lanka depended on whether he could now go that next step and show the statesmanship to find a political as well as humanitarian solution to this community’s issues.”
“On 17 May, the Prime Minister announced an additional œ5 million in humanitarian aid for Sri Lanka, taking the total to œ12.5 million since September 2008.”
Lord Naseby said, “My Lords, have Her Majesty’s Government congratulated the Sri Lankan Government on defeating the Tamil Tigers and bringing peace to the country? On the international front, is it Her Majesty’s Government’s policy primarily to tackle the resettlement of the 250,000 Tamils and the 100,000 Muslims who were ethnically cleansed from Jaffna, or is it to continue to lecture that there should be a constitutional settlement, which really rests with the Parliament of Sri Lanka?”
Canada – Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon
“Canadians are very concerned about the aftermath of the military action in Sri Lanka and the appalling effect it has had on civilians. This terrible, decades-long war has inflicted untold devastation and heartbreak on Sri Lankans. The Government of Canada wishes to express its concerns about civilian casualties, and to convey its condolences to the people of Sri Lanka and those around the world who have lost friends and family members in this horrific conflict. Canada urges the Government of Sri Lanka to begin to find a long-term political solution that responds to the legitimate aspirations of all the people of Sri Lanka. Canada is prepared to assist Sri Lankan efforts to find political reconciliation and a lasting peace.”
18 May 2009 – United States Department of State spokesman Ian Kelly said
“The Department of State welcomes the fact that the fighting has ended, and we are relieved that the immense loss of life and killing of innocent civilians appears to be over. This is an opportunity for Sri Lanka to turn the page on its past and build a Sri Lanka rooted in democracy, tolerance, and respect for human rights. Now is the time for the government to engage the Tamils, Sinhalese, and other Sri Lankans to create a political arrangement that promotes and protects the rights of all Sri Lankans. It is also vital for the government to provide for the needs of the 280,000 civilians now living in relief camps. Providing food, water, shelter, basic health care, and sanitation, as well as expediting their return to their homes should be a top priority for the government.”
The UNSG is concerned about ‘loss of so many lives’ – what about all the lives LTTE nullified since 1980s are their killings by LTTE not important to UNSG?
What does the UNSG mean by ‘national reconciliation’ – Sri Lanka ended an internationally banned terrorist movement, by UNSG’s own statements he was well aware that LTTE was keeping civilians by force, LTTE was killing civilians trying to flee, LTTE was cutting hair of young girls & forcing them to engage in hostilities. What reconciliation with terrorists. The armed forces saved close to 300,000 Tamils that LTTE took by force. The mistake every government has made is its failure to clearly state to the world that LTTE was the enemy of Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims except for the Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims who were directly & indirectly supportive of LTTE. Since those supportive of LTTE should be investigated and charged for aiding & abetting terrorism, there is absolutely no requirement to reconcile with LTTE terrorists or their covert/overt supporters.
Let us not get two factors confused. The GOSL through its national army ended a terrorist movement that was targeting civilians as well as trying to separate the country. The confusing fact is that the terror element (LTTE) & separatism (LTTE & Tamil political demands) are interlinked. Now that the LTTE terror element has been removed the separatist quest via the political element remains which is why we cannot move forward without removing the separatist quest also from the equation as ordinary citizens of all communities do not wish to have the island divided for whatever reasons.
What are these “legitimate concerns and aspirations” and it cannot be only that of a minority populace. One community cannot have anything that denies another community and exactly who are voicing these ‘aspirations’ in terms of numbers do they have any quantifiable reach? That is nullified by the fact that more Tamils live among the Sinhalese than they do among Tamils in North Sri Lanka.
The EU is referring to a ‘fully inclusive political solution’ again what everyone has ignored is that the GOSL and the armed forces ended a terrorist movement. Who reaches political solutions with terrorists? LTTE was never representative of Tamils, if so why would they kill Tamils. LTTE has killed more Tamils than they accuse Sinhalese of killing.
The Indian External Affairs Minister raises question of “root causes of conflict” which is an excellent point and should cover the divide & rule policies of colonial invaders and the manner excessive privileges given to minorities purposely denying majority and creating an elite set of brown sahibs comprising Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims helped create the problem initially and made worse by the geopolitics of East-West allegiance and power politics that constituted using armed groups as political pressure triggers against foreign governments with NGOs and faith-based organizations justifying their presence to increase flocks via conversion while subtly aggravating the problem through foreign funding. Will these truths ever get put on the table – never, because the one’s doing the preaching are the one’s steering these destabilizing entities. The reason for India to demand ‘devolution of power’ is connected to India’s interference in 1987 via the Indo-Lanka Accord and forcing the 13th amendment which is promoting demands for unnecessary powers that does not necessarily trickle to do any service to the people. Over 30 years of provincial council system is enough proof to highlight the failure of devolution.
The Japanese PM raises ‘poverty’ as one of the root causes for the conflict, which is partly correct as statistics will reveal the rise in conversions to Christianity by Hindu Tamils is as a result of the subtle inducements given by faith-based NGOs that came to assist in ‘reconciliation’ & ‘peace-building’. Japan also stresses on development which was an area that the GOSL kickstarted immediately with the conclusion of the military operation and vast areas of the North where Tamils were living like in the cave-days enjoyed electricity for the 1st time and were able to see what the rest of the island looked like. They were virtual prisoners of the LTTE kept in the areas where LTTE controlled and had their children kidnapped and turned into child soldiers. In addition to poverty, no one raises the caste issue for which the hatred by a higher caste upon a lower caste Tamil is far more than his hatred for a Sinhalese.
Philippines has made the same mistake. Congratulating the armed forces victory over LTTE terrorists has nothing to do with the Tamil minority but it has part to do with the Tamil leadership connected to the LTTE which is why it is important & necessary to appoint a commission of inquiry and remove all linked to LTTE terror & separatism.
What the Governments past & present & future need to do is to clearly convey that Sri Lanka had a TERRORIST conflict and not an ETHNIC conflict. LTTE did kill Tamils and plenty of them too especially decent and socially accepted Tamil leaders. However, what is also true is that ALL LTTE were Tamil but all Tamils are not LTTE.
These are great failures of the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry & its envoys and embassy staff who have not used their diplomatic status to convey the correct picture to the world. That LTTE were terrorists and Sri Lanka’s Armed Forces were fighting terrorists negates the notion that it was a Sinhala-Tamil conflict. The Armed Forces are not a Sinhala army and though the LTTE were all Tamils the LTTE also killed quite a lot of Tamils. There is no requirement to reconcile with terrorists and there is no need to reconcile with Tamils as both Sinhalese-Tamils live amicably. Like every household nothing is 100% perfect but no one is demanding separate states just because of some disagreement. How many times would people have to remarry if after every disagreement the solution was to separate!
The statement from South Africa is the most contentious primarily because South Africa endured apartheid where a handful of whites controlled Africa’s lands and treated blacks as nobodys for 43 years. However, even after the end of apartheid and the hyped up Truth & Reconciliation Commission – 20 years later what have Africans got which they can measure as being better than under apartheid rule? Yasmin Sooka who served on the SA T&R who is paid by EU to look into South African affairs is 24×7 intruding into Sri Lanka churning reports before every Geneva session.
Norway has very little credibility in Sri Lanka given its close ties to the LTTE leadership and therefore, not many citizens of Sri Lanka take seriously anything that Norway’s leaders issue.
Russia, Pakistan & China have been true friends of Sri Lanka in particular helping Sri Lanka providing military support as well as supporting Sri Lanka in Geneva. Citizens of Sri Lanka are and will forever be grateful to these 3 countries.
Switzerland’s statement claims Sri Lanka has violated IHL – can Switzerland be more specific and give what IHL have been violated and who their sources are.
UK statement delivered by then Foreign Secretary David Miliband speaks of resolving the ‘underlying causes of the conflict’ – we can do that as long as UK is ready to accept and account for its share of aggravating the problem. UK is the LTTE’s international headquarters, LTTE fronts openly operate in UK, Adele Balasingham the women who trained women and children to kill and commit suicide lives in UK, UK is also where LTTE fronts operate their illegal and legal enterprises and UK Govt is quite happy not to do anything against LTTE fronts involved in credit card scams, charity registration misuse & abuse, extortion, money laundering, hawala etc.
Lord Naseby a steadfast support for truth and sovereignty of nations in his address to the Lords claims rightfully that any solution must be determined by Sri Lanka’s Parliament not UK. Thank you Lord Naseby! Unfortunately there is only a handful of gentlemen & honorably parliamentarians around in politics!
Canada’s tone is no different to Switzerland. Well if the decades-long war was terrible, untold devastation and heartbreak was suffered mostly by LTTE the terror attacker not the army that was defending itself and the citizens. We hope Canada’s condolences are for the victims of LTTE terror and not the LTTE dead. As for aspirations, we all have aspirations – will Canada give native Indians its aspirations? Will Australia give Aboriginese its aspirations? Will New Zealand give Maoris its aspirations? Will US give Native Indians its aspirations? How about reconciling these first!
In May 2009 the US said Sri Lanka had an opportunity to turn the page on its past & build Sri Lanka … of course these nicely worded lines are only for paper because US has been drafting resolutions against Sri Lanka since 2012 coercing other nations to vote in favor of it.
What Sri Lanka’s government, foreign ministry & diplomats in particular as well as the state apparatus failed to do was to put the facts on the table
- Sri Lanka’s conflict was terrorist not etnic
- LTTE victims included Sinhalese, Muslims, Tamils & even foreigners
- LTTE terrorism/separatism & Tamil separatism are inter-linked. If military ended LTTE terrorism & separatism what remains is Tamil political quest for separatism and the task is now to showcase how & which Tamil politicians are connected to the LTTE quest for separatism as well as terrorism. Unless anyone has given up both terrorism & separatism, they cannot be omitted from investigation.
- The call for a Commission of Inquiry into individuals/groups and organizations indirectly/directly involved in terrorism/separatism is a must for 6th amendment clearly denies any form of separatism of Sri Lanka.
It is only after those involved in terrorism & separatism are legally charged for their crimes can Sri Lanka move forward and when true reconciliation will take place.
All the other initiatives claiming to be for peace & reconciliation are all bogus quests to advance other agendas and have nothing to do with bringing people together. Besides, no special effort is needed because the ordinary people live amongst each other it is a handful of people who claim they is a problem and beat the war drums but these are the very scoundrels who behind the scenes have very cordial relations with each other – have you seen how the Sinhala-Tamil-Muslim MPs in Parliament behave and these are the rascals trying to stir people’s emotions against each other.
Shenali D Waduge