Kumaratunga says talks should restart without delay

[TamilNet, Thursday, 01 July 2004, 12:29 GMT]
Sri Lanka’s President Chandrika Kumaratunga Thursday told Norwegian facilitators of the the island’s peace process that peace talks between her government and the Liberation Tigers should be resumed without further delay. She denied accusations by the Liberation Tigers that the SLA was engaged in activities in support of renegade commander Karuna in the eastern province.

The Presidential Secretariat Thursday issued a statement about her meeting with the Norwegians. The following is the full text of the statement:

“President Chandrika Kumaratunga received Mr. Erik Solheim, Special Advisor, at the President’s House this morning in pursuance of Norway’s facilitation of the Sri Lankan peace process. Mr. Solheim briefed the President on his visit to Kilinochchi and his conversations with Head of the LTTE’s Political Wing S.P. Thamilselvan.

''The President rejected the publicly aired allegations by the LTTE that the Government had authorized the Sri Lankan military activities in the Eastern Province in support of the Karuna faction. She expressed confidence that under the command of Lt. Gen. Shantha Kottegoda, the Sri Lanka Army will continue to abide by the Ceasefire Agreement. She reiterated the Government’s commitment to achieving a lasting peace and maintaining the Ceasefire Agreement.

''The President also explained that steps were being taken to establish the peace structure she announced on June 12, so that a more inclusive and transparent peace process would be conducted in the future. She stressed that the peace negotiations should commence without delay in the mutual interest of the two parties.

''The Norwegian delegation undertook to continue the process of consultations on outstanding issues with a view to bringing both parties into direct negotiations.

''The President stated that the Government was anxious to continue existing development projects and start new projects to satisfy the humanitarian and development needs of the North and East.

"Mr. Solheim was accompanied by Norway’s Ambassador Hans Brattskar, and Ms. Solfried Lien, Assistant to the delegation.

''Associated at the discussion with the President were Lakshman Kadirgamar, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jayantha Dhanapala, Secretary General of the Peace Secretariat and H.M.G.S. Palihakkara, Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.''

 

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