US welcomes Pirapaharan's comments
[TamilNet, Friday, 12 April 2002, 22:36 GMT]
In a statement issued by its embassy in Colombo Friday, the United States welcomed comments by the Liberation Tigers' leader Mr. Vellupillai Pirapaharan expressing his support for the Norwegian peace initiative. Mr. Pirapaharan made his comments at a press conference held Wednesday in Kilinochchi.
The full text of the US embassy statement follows:
"The United States welcomes Mr. Prabhakaran's commitment to peace and a negotiated political settlement of the 19-year long ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. We also welcome his acknowledgment that the questions of Sri Lankan Muslims must be resolved alongside those of the Tamil people.
"We are encouraged by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam's willingness to work within a political process and to renounce violence. We have long believed that violence cannot achieve the Tigers' stated objectives, and urge Mr. Prabhakaran to abandon its use unequivocally.
"As we have said earlier, we are pleased by the existing cease fire and the prospect of direct peace negotiations between the Sri Lankan government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which could begin in May or June.
"A political solution to the conflict which maintains Sri Lanka's territorial integrity would be welcomed by the international community, and we urge all parties to continue to work toward that goal.
"If Sri Lankans on both sides continue to approach talks constructively and show a willingness to compromise, we believe peace can return.
"The United States fully supports the Norwegian government's efforts to facilitate a settlement."