Sri Lanka stands by ceasefire agreement
[TamilNet, Thursday, 18 July 2002, 19:07 GMT]
The Sri Lankan government Thursday dismissed calls for its ceasefire agreement with the Liberation Tigers to be revised. “Although several political groups have requested for the revision of the ceasefire agreement the Government considers it a complete document," Minister G.L. Peiris said at a press conference held Thursday to announce the cabinet decisions taken Wednesday.
Following communal violence between Muslims and Tamils last month, Minister and President of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), Mr. Rauff Hakeem, had requested the Prime Minister to effect changes in the ceasefire agreement ‘that could provide safeguards to the interest of Muslims.’
In the meantime the leader of the National Unity Alliance - a rival of the SLMC - and Ampara district parliamentarian, Ms Ferial Ashraff, had slammed the ceasefire agreement as ‘one sided’ and demanded that it should be completely revised ‘to protect the lives and properties of Muslims and Sinhalese living in the northeast province.’
However, Sri Lanka’s United National Front government Thursday stood by the ceasefire agreement which has been hailed by the international community and welcomed by the public.
The government also expressed satisfaction with the progress of the Norwegian sponsored peace process.
"No permanent decision has been taken on a date to commence peace negotiations at Thailand. However the Norwegian representative, Liberation Tigers and the UNF government are in the process of conducting lengthy discussions over the question of fixing the date for peace negotiation," Minister Peiris said.