Sri Lanka’s foreign secretary said that his government believes “once you are a terrorist, you are always a terrorist,” as he spoke to Business World about reconciliation on the island last month.
"One thing we have to understand, reconciliation can not be forced,” said Admiral Jayanath Colombage, when asked about whether his government would devolve power to the Tamil provinces on the island.
“There can not be a good terrorist and a bad terrorist, right?” he continued “Once you are a terrorist, you are always a terrorist. That is what we believe in. We have suffered immensely because of terrorism and we don’t want to suffer any more. And we don’t want to promote terrorism, or at least see promotion of terrorism in any part of the world.”
His comments came ahead of a crackdown launched by Sri Lankan security forces in the North-East last month, with dozens of Tamils arrested.
“This reconciliation term is something that the politicians use it, especially during an election, to win votes,” he continued.
The foreign secretary went on to state that “devolving power is a very sensitive issue here”. Speaking on the 13th Amendment, which calls for the devolution of powers to a merged North-East, Colombage claimed that the “majority of the clauses are implemented”.
“Only two things are not done,” he continued. “That is giving police power and land power. Those two will never be given to the province. We can’t afford to do that.”
See his full discussion above.
Colombage served as a Commander in Trincomalee from January 2010 to September 2012 where he was implicated in the running of the Illegal detention and torture site known as “Gota's Camp” within the Trincomalee Naval Complex.