US urged to pressure Sri Lankan government for peace

[TamilNet, Sunday, 16 May 2004, 03:02 GMT]
Students undergoing training on Non-violent Communication Skills for Youths in the Trincomalee campus of the Eastern University, with the financial support of the USAID, Saturday told the visiting US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs, Ms. Christina Rocca, in clear terms that the US government should exert pressure on the government in power in Sri Lanka to find a permanent peaceful solution to the ethnic conflict without anymore foot-dragging.

The team of officials of the US government, led by Ms. Rocca, Saturday evening paid a visit to the Trincomalee campus to observe the English medium training programme on Non-violent Communication Skills for Youths, which is now in progress for university students from all communities. A large number of the participants of the training programme is from the majority community, sources said.

Rocca in Trincomalee
Ms Christina Rocca delivering her address inaugurating the English Business centre in Trincomalee District Chamber of Commerce Business College.


A senior lecturer of the Trincomalee campus, Mr.V.Naveenraj, who was in the chair conducting the discussion requested the students to air their views in regard to the training programme and related matters. Thereafter several students stood up in front of Ms. Rocca, the US Ambassador in Sri Lanka, Mr.Jeffrey Lunstead, and other US officials, and made an appeal that the US government should come forward and tell the Sri Lankan government to resolve the conflict.

One student said, "Every government in our country that comes to power says that it would work for peace. However peace has not come. The US, a powerful nation in the world, should come forward and exert pressure on our government to work with sincerity to achieve peace through negotiations."

Rocca in Trincomalee
A resource person conducting training for a group of students attending Non-Violent Communication Training programme.


"Peace should first emerge from our heart. We from all communities and badly affected by the war follow this training programme as children of the country, shedding all differences," said another student.

Another student said," I am from Kandy. The training programme on Non-violent Communication Skills for Youths has been very useful to promote harmony among all communities at a time the country needed a society with one goal ' Sri Lanka is our country'."

Replying to the appeal made by students for the US to exert pressure on the Sri Lankan government, the US Ambassador said," This is your country. The urge for peace should come from you. You should urge your leaders to work for genuine peace. We will extend our fullest co-operation for your effort to achieve peace in the country."

Ms. Rocca said that her government and the Government of Sri Lanka share the goals of peace and prosperity. "Our hope is to work together towards those goals," she said. Ms Brenda Barrett also spoke

The USAID is supporting the Centre for Non-Violent Communication located at the Trincomalee campus of the Eastern University with a grant of $ 27,000 to train more than 700 university and high school students in non-violent skills to create a network of skilled trainers in non-violent communications, USAID sources said.

Ms. Rocca earlier declared open the Business English centre at the new Trincomalee Chamber of Commerce Business College. Speaking at the event, she said," A well-qualified workforce will help a peaceful Trincomalee grow economically. This Business College is a common space where Trincomalee residents of all communities can work together toward shared goals that benefit the entire community."

The USAID provided $ 45,000 of equipment and furniture to help establish the first internationally accredited English medium Business College in the Eastern Province. Each year more than 100 students will have the opportunity to take management, Accounting and English courses, said USAID sources.

Ms. Rocca during her stay in Trincomalee met with government officials, non-governmental groups and senior citizens and discussed regional issues, sources said.

Rocca in Trincomalee
( L-R) US Ambassador Mr Lunstead, Ms Christina Rocca, Mr.Naveenraj and Ms Brenda Barrett are seen participating in the training programme on Non-Violent Communication Skills for youths at the trincomalee campus.

 

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