The civil war in Sri Lanka has officially ended with a thorough and bloody defeat for the LTTE. The article traces the many and varied attempts to come to grips with the problems between the Sinhalese and the Tamils that have been variously defined for over sixty years: as linguistic, religious, ethnic conflicts. What has remained constant is the failure to find a solution to the problem by negotiation. From the first attempt to negotiate an agreement in 1958 in the form of the Banda-Chelva-Pact, the Dudley-Chelva-Pact of 1965 to the Indo-Lanka Accord of 2002, all agreements and pacts have been abrogated or torpedoed by interested parties. The paper discusses some possible and probable reasons for this state of affairs as well as the underlying mindsets and expectations of both sides to the conflict that always let both internal and external attempts at mediation and a negotiated solution founder. The future for the Tamils in particular and Sri Lanka in general looks grim.