Colombo announces month long ceasefire
[TamilNet, Friday, 21 December 2001, 12:38 GMT]
The Sri Lankan government Friday responded to the ceasefire unilaterally declared by the Liberation Tigers by announcing a ceasefire from midnight 24 December to 24 January. The month long ceasefire declared by the LTTE also comes into effect from the midnight of 24 December. The United National Front government sources said that the ceasefire announcement was initially expected to be made Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s return from Delhi.
However, there was a very favourable response from India to the government’s plan to positively reciprocate the LTTE’s unilateral declaration this week, the sources said.
A government minister said that he expected the ceasefire to be extended further. The modalities of observing the ceasefire are being studied by the Sri Lanka army and the Ministry of Defence, he said.
The press release issued by the Prime Minister's office Friday evening in this regard follows:
"The United National Front (UNF) has received an overwhelming mandate from all the communities in Sri Lanka to achieve a negotiated political solution within an undivided Sri Lanka.
"Consequently the Government, as part of its initiative to bring about an atmosphere conducive to invigorating the peace process, will take immediate and concrete steps to improve living conditions for civilians in the uncleared areas.
"The Government welcomes the announcement of 19th December by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and, as a goodwill measure to facilitate peace, will observe a cessation of hostilities from midnight 24th December 2001 until midnight 24th January 2002.
"A detailed statement on the initiatives of the Government will be issued shortly."