EU urges early recommencement of talks

[TamilNet, Monday, 16 August 2004, 18:03 GMT]
While noting that the meeting with the LTTE was constructive and the matters were discussed in a frank and open manner, the EU in a press statement issued on Monday called upon the LTTE for the earliest resumption of peace talks and stated that the peace process and the development process are inter-linked.

Fulltext of the press release follows:


On Monday the 16th of August 2004, the local EU Troika, comprising the EU Presidency, the Ambassador of The Netherlands Her Excellency Mrs. Susan Th. Blankhart, and the High Commissioner of United Kingdom, His Excellency Mr. Stephen Evans, and the Charg d'Affaires of the European Commission, Mr. Wouter Wilton, met Mr. Thamilchelvam, Head of the Political Wing of the LTTE, in Kilinochchi, to discuss the progress in the peace process.

The meeting was constructive and dealt with the following matters, which were discussed in a frank and open manner.

The EU has throughout the conflict emphasised the importance of the respect for human rights. The killing of political opponents is a breach of fundamental human rights. There is no excuse for such violence, which can never resolve the internal differences in Sri Lanka. Child recruitment by the LTTE, which is also regarded as a breach of fundamental human rights, is an issue of continued concern of the EU. The EU wishes to reiterate the points that Commissioner Patten raised in his discussion with the LTTE in November 2003 on good governance, pluralism, human rights and democracy. These are the cornerstones of a settlement for an everlasting peace in Sri Lanka. They are important too for the LTTE to obtain recognition as a political player in Sri Lanka.

The EU is concerned and alarmed about the recent increase in political killings and the inability of the LTTE to solve internal differences in a peaceful manner. Since the cease-fire agreement was signed between the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE a series of murders, attempted murders and abductions of civilians took place. In July the suicide attack and the killing of political opponents in Colombo and the brutal killings in Jaffna and in the East have shocked Sri Lanka and the international community.

Despite promising signs in April, that the LTTE was taking serious its pledge to release the children in its ranks, recruitment has been accelerated both in the North and East during the last couple of months. The EU supports the efforts of UNICEF to return these children to their homes.

These killings, abductions and child recruitment are not conducive to an atmosphere in which peace negotiations can be restarted. The EU urges the LTTE to restrain itself from any action that might provoke disruption of the cease-fire and allow unimpeded continuation of the activities of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission.

The EU urges the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Government to put the interests and wishes of the people of Sri Lanka for a permanent peace settlement first, by returning to the negotiating table and call upon the LTTE for the earliest resumption of peace talks, which have been suspended by the LTTE since April last year. We urge the LTTE to continue to work towards the restart of substantive talks. Only through dialogue can there be a negotiated settlement to the conflict. A return to the peace table, along with a strict adherence to the terms of the cease-fire agreement and full respect for human rights, are essential to sustain the peace process for the benefit of all ethnic communities in Sri Lanka.

The EU wishes to reiterate that the peace process and the development process are mutually reinforcing and inter-linked, as agreed in the Tokyo Conference last year.

 

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