Colombo's low enthusiasm on reconciliation, distressing- British FM
[TamilNet, Saturday, 12 January 2008, 19:21 GMT]
During discussion in British Parliament on 8 Jan 2008, Dr Kim Howells, British Foreign Minister, in responding question on increasing number of killings in Sri Lanka, said: "I think that the most distressing feature is how the Government have won some military battles, but then become less enthusiastic about reconciliation and involving everyone who lives on that troubled island in a more inclusive way. We will continue to work with the Government, however, to emphasise that reconciliation must take place. There must be talks; otherwise the killing will continue."
Full text of the exchange published in Hansard of 8th January 2008, follows:Simon Hughes (North Southwark and Bermondsey) (LD):
Ministers will know that since 1 January this year, Sri Lanka has seen the death of one member of parliament, the death of a military commander of the Tamil Tigers and of other Tamils, and, in the last 24 hours, the death of the Minister responsible for nation building. Given that the Sri Lanka Government have announced that they will terminate the ceasefire agreement next Wednesday, what are Her Majesty’s Government doing to try to bring both sides together again to facilitate a long-term and secure settlement for Sri Lanka so that all its peoples can live in peace?Dr. Howells:
I share the hon. Gentleman’s concern about the deteriorating situation in Sri Lanka. We have been trying for a long time to help the Norwegians, who have been attempting to broker peace and have done sterling work there. Indeed, my right hon. Friend the Member for Torfaen (Mr. Murphy), a former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, has been out to Sri Lanka to try to build bridges between the communities on the basis of his experience of what happened in Northern Ireland—but it is a very difficult process. I think that the most distressing feature is how the Government have won some military battles, but then become less enthusiastic about reconciliation and involving everyone who lives on that troubled island in a more inclusive way. We will continue to work with the Government, however, to emphasise that reconciliation must take place. There must be talks; otherwise the killing will continue. A Minister died yesterday, and we have seen...Mr. Speaker:
Order. I must stop the Minister there...
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