'Sri Lanka is at a crucial stage' - PM

[TamilNet, Sunday, 05 January 2003, 17:50 GMT]
Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe Sunday in his evening address to people of Sri Lanka said, "arguments over security matters should not be allowed to derail the momentum of the peace negotiation. The country has entered a stage that would decide the future of Sri Lanka."

Excerpts from Prime Minister Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe's speech follow:

"The government has made steady progress in its bid to achieve peace in the country. The government has achieved successful results last year that far exceeded its achievement militarily during the last two decades of war. The ceasefire agreement signed between the United National Front government and the LTTE has laid a firm foundation in this regard.

"LTTE has now agreed to abandon its armed struggle and pursue a federal state of governance as a solution the northeast conflict. Military de-escalation of the northeast and the resettlement of civilians are also part of the political solution. Both sides should overcome the shortcomings with regard to the implementation of the ceasefire agreement.

"No move should be made to abandon the peace talks and there is long way ahead in the path towards peace. President Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge has played a key role in promoting a political solution as the means to end the conflict.

"It is a positive signal the Peoples Alliance (PA) has extended its support to the UNF government in this regard. The Sri Lanka government is committed to safeguarding the religion and cultural identities of the Sinhala and Muslim communities.

"Although we have been forced to take several unpopular decisions, the economy is recovering and we have been able to achieve a three percent economy growth."

 

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