Conference against war held in Colombo

[TamilNet, Saturday, 24 April 2004, 14:20 GMT]
Members of National Anti-War Front, a coalition of more than one hundred Sinhala peace movements across Sri Lanka, in a conference held in Colombo yesterday, expressed their opposition to war and resolved to raise public awareness against a return to a state of war, a popular Canadian radio broadcast said.

Many prominent Sinhala intellectuals including Dr.Kumar Rupesinghe of International Alert, Dr. Sumanasiri Liyanage who teaches economics at the University of Peradeniya and Indika Gunawardena, former Minister for IT Development and later Minister of Posts and Telecommunications in the earlier Ms.Kumaratunge's Government, participated in the Conference. Several leading Buddhist monks also attended the conference, the broadcast said.

The meeting focussed on the reasons for the prevailing conditions in the South that appear conducive to breakout of renewed war and explored ways to promote peace, the broadcast said.

United Peoples Freedom Alliance of Ms.Kumaratunge campaigned during the elections that UPFA will suspend the peace talks which UPFA claimed were proceeding in a wrong direction of leading to bifurication of Sri Lanka, members pointed out. Given UPFA's election victory, the meeting raised questions on the difficulties facing the present Sri Lanka Government in taking forward the peace process.

The National Anti-War Front was formed in 2002.

Meanwhile, JVP's Wimal Weerawanse, in a recent press briefing, had accused members of Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) for voting with the Tamil National Alliance, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress and Ceylon Workers Congress, parties Mr.Wimalwanse said were working to split Sri Lanka. Political analysts in Colombo, pointing to these sentiments prevailing within JVP, one of the main constituent party of the UPFA, expressed concern how genuine the UPFA is in taking positive steps in the peace process.

The appointment of Douglas Devananda, whose party was rejected by the Tamil People, to an importance ministerial position, further cast doubts on the seriousness of the UPFA in negotiating peace with Tamil people, Tamil National Alliance MP, Mr.Sampanthan said recently in Sri Lanka's parliament.


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