SL Prime Minister lays conditions for peace talks
[TamilNet, Saturday, 16 September 2006, 00:18 GMT]
Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, Prime Minister and acting Minister of Defence, laid conditions for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to take part in future peace talks with the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL). "LTTE must first lay down their arms if they want to start peace negotiation with our government. There will not be any place for peace talks in our agenda if this condition is not met," said Mr. Wickremanayake addressing the 25th anniversary of the Land Reform and Development Organization held at Sethsiripaya in Colombo Thursday, political sources in Colombo said.
Wickremanayake further said the international community should respect the sovereignty of Sri Lanka. No one has the right to give parity of status to the LTTE with GoSL in peace talks. No one should dictate to the government of a sovereign country, without its consent, when and where peace talks are to be held, he said.
"Our government is very firm in its stand that there should not be any hindrance to the movement of State armed forces in land, sea and air, and anywhere throughout the island when the peace talks is held with the LTTE," the Prime Minister said.
The international community is proposing peace talks with the LTTE at the instigation of the latter when the LTTE is in a weak position. Our sovereign land will not be allowed to be used as a playground by the international community," said Wickremanayake who holds the post of acting Defence Minister in the absence of Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse.
Mr. Rajapakse has been currently attending the Non-Aligned Movement conference in Havana, Cuba. He holds the positions of Defence Minister, and Finance Minister. Acting ministers have been appointed to these posts till he returns.