Colombo to continue to maintain CFA with LTTE

[TamilNet, Monday, 28 November 2005, 16:24 GMT]
Sri Lanka's President Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse Monday explained his future peace plans with the Colombo-based diplomatic community where he said that his new government will continue to observe the ceasefire agreement with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. In his address, the Sri Lankan President told the diplomatic community that he welcomed the remarks made by the LTTE leader Mr. V. Pirapaharan in his annual Maveerar Day speech and reiterated his invitation to the Tigers for fresh talks, a statement from the SL President's office said. The statement said Mr. Rajapaske wanted to "review" the "operation" of the ceasefire.

Leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, Mr. V. Pirapaharan, on his annual Heroes Day address Sunday said that a critical elucidation of President Rajapakse’s policy statement revealed that he has failed to grasp the fundamentals and said that the distance, in terms of policy, between Mahinda Rajapakse and the LTTE, was vast.

"However, President Rajapakse is considered a realist committed to pragmatic politics, we wish to find out, first of all, how he is going to handle the peace process and whether he will offer justice to our people. We have, therefore, decided to wait and observe, for sometime, his political manoeuvres and actions," Mr. Pirapaharan said underlining that his "urgent" call to Colombo was "final."

Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse, following his meeting with the diplomats in Colombo on Monday issued a press release.

Excerpts from the press release follow:

Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse
"With regard to achieving a lasting peace through a negotiated political solution, I have already given the broad policy outlines of my approach in my statement after swearing in on 19th November, 2005. My deep commitment to pursuing the process through broad based consultations and with the assistance of all those friendly countries, which have helped us in the past, need no reiteration. In this regard, I have directed the Foreign Minister and the Peace Secretariat to initiate consultations with the Co-chairs Japan, the United States, the European Union and Norway."

"To me the peace process is not about posturing to win favour with anyone, nationally or internationally, it is about resolving a very complex issue that has polarized the very fabric of our society. My agenda is very clear. The process of achieving peace must be founded on trust and confidence. Most importantly, peace must be built on commitment that can be delivered in full. It is towards this end that I build consensus within the political landscape, so that the agreements that we reach at peace talks are fully deliverable."

"Notwithstanding the incidents in the North and in the East in the run up to and on the day of the Presidential Election, I hope the LTTE will not henceforth be negative to the free and fair exercise of the franchise at all levels of future elections. I also hope that they will respond positively to my call for talks without delay. What I have outlined is an approach based on democracy, human rights, transparency and simplicity. I wish to start work in consultations with all stakeholders."

"In this regard, I welcome Mr. Prabhakaran's remarks yesterday recognizing my pragmatic approach and my invitation for talks as extending the hands of friendship. Let me use this occasion, to reiterate my invitation to Mr. Prabhakaran for talks."

"We can resume work immediately on reviewing the operation of the ceasefire, whilst we prepare ourselves for eventual substantive talks leading to a lasting solution. These processes can work in parallel, and not necessarily sequentially," the statement goes on."


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