Sri Lanka told by terrorism experts no military solution possible

COLOMBO, Oct 21, 2007 (AFP) – Experts on counter terrorism have urged Sri Lanka’s government to capitalise on recent victories against the Tamil Tigers and try to hammer out a political solution to the long-running ethnic war. Earlier this year, government forces managed to eject the ethnic rebels from their last stronghold in the east of the island, while recent weeks saw the navy claim it had sunk the Tigers’ last gun-running ship.

But as Colombo turns its attention to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) mini-state in the north, experts at a terrorism conference in the capital this week said authorities should instead try to revive peace efforts.

“Going by the navy’s recent success, about 75 percent of the guerrillas’ logistics capabilities to transport weapons has been destroyed,” said Shanaka Jayasekara of the Centre for Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism at Australia’s Macquarie University.

He said the rebels now needed about 12-18 months to restore their supply capabilities to about 50 percent.

“We need to invest military success into a viable peace deal,” Jayasekara told delegates at an international conference on counter-terrorism in Colombo this week.

A 2002 truce brokered by