A two page plan that was presented to US Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton five weeks ago by External Affairs Minister G. L. Peiris details short, medium and long term measures to be adopted by the government to implement recommendations made by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).
The document with the heading ‘The way forward in regard to the report of the Commission on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation – LLRC’ was the basis for the talks between a three-member delegation led by Peiris and American officials led by Clinton at the State Department in Washington, DC on May 18 this year.
In essence the government has pledged to appoint a Task Force headed by the Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga which would monitor the implementation of the LLRC recommendations. The government told Clinton that the officials who will make up the Task Force have already been identified.
The delegation which included President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga and Sajin Vass Gunawardena (the MP supervising the Foreign Ministry) promised the Americans that, “Those recommendations that can be implemented in the short term will be implemented without any delay”.
Medium and Long Term implementation will be monitored by the same task force. The government according to the document has categorized 285 recommendations made by the LLRC into four categories.
In the first category are 33 main recommendations relating to National Policy. The government says it expects that the “proposed PSC (Parliamentary Select Committee) would deliberate on those issues that need interventions by the legislature and chart a course of actions that will result in any required amendments to the constitution of Sri Lanka as well as any other laws” .
Eight recommendations made by the LLRC in the case of the final phase of the war would be dealt with: “Appropriate government institutions with the Ministry of Defense leading, would institute suitable mechanisms to address these recommendations and if necessary place some issues before the PSC as a political debate would be necessary in regard to giving effect to these” as well as category III Recommendations related to human rights and national security concerns.
The document was described by Clinton as a ‘very serious plan’ and ‘a good plan’.
According to US State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland, Ms. Clinton, after praising the plan, had told Minister Peiris, “Now you really need to make it public. Now you really need to show your people, the world, the concrete implementation steps going forward,” (AFP – 19.5.2012).
But Minister Peiris was subsequently quoted saying that there was no plan as such; all he did was to explain to the Americans the work done by the government so far.