Sri Lanka, Norway welcome Pirapaharan's comments
[TamilNet, Thursday, 11 April 2002, 11:18 GMT]
Welcoming remarks made by Mr. Vellupillai Pirapaharan, the leader of the Liberation Tigers, that he was satisfied with the progress of the Norwegian peace process, Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe said his government would favourably consider the LTTE's demand for deproscription. The Norwegian government also Thursday welcomed Mr. Pirapaharan's comments.
Answering a question at Wednesday's press conference Mr.Pirapaharan said "I am very, very, pleased with the development of the peace process and I want to compliment Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe for the bold action he has taken to promote [this] and the goodwill measures in the north east."
"The peace process can now be intensified," Mr. Wickremesinghe said at a media briefing Thursday morning. "The LTTE leader's remarks at his press conference can be considered as a positive indication to accelerate the Norwegian initiative."
"The government would now favourably consider the LTTE's demand for its deproscription in Sri Lanka", said Mr.Wickremasinghe said in response to Mr.Pirapaharan's statement that the ban on the LTTE should be lifted before the commencement of the proposed talks in Thailand.
Mr. Wickremesinghe added that the LTTE has shown its willingness to work within the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka.
Constitutional Affairs Minister in the United National Front (UNF) government, Professor G.L.Peiris, said Thursday at the cabinet briefing that Mr.Pirapaharan comments at the press conference last night indicated that the LTTE is ready to share power within a united Sri Lanka.
"The 13th amendment to the constitution is not enough to devolve the political power properly. We must go beyond that to ensure proper devolution of power," said Professor Peiris.
The Norwegian government also welcomed Mr. Pirapaharan's comments.
"I think it's a very good sign of establishing a normal process," deputy foreign Minister Vidar Helgesen told Reuters in Oslo. "I think his phrasing of the separate state issue was pretty balanced."
Mr. Helegesen is scheduled to meet Mr. Pirapaharan in the Vanni on April 17