Clinton urges Sri Lankan political parties to support Joint Mechanism

[TamilNet, Saturday, 28 May 2005, 18:34 GMT]
Meeting the local and foreign media personnel in Colombo at the end of his tightly-scheduled two-day visit, Clinton said that he fully backs the proposed Joint Mechanism‚ as it could also lead to peace and reconciliation. Former US President Bill Clinton, who is also the UN special envoy for co-ordinating tsunami rebuilding process, on Saturday urged the political parties in the South to extend their support for the establishment of such a mechanism "to build a common future for everyone". Appreciating the ceasefire which is continuing for the past three years, Clinton said that Norway was facilitating and all the Sri Lankans should support the peace process.

Clinton said that he liked the joint-mechanism as it could also bear positive impact on the Norwegian-brokered peace efforts.

Before meeting the press at the Trans Asia hotel in Colombo former US President Clinton met President Chandrika on a luncheon meeting and discussed the country's political situation and the tsunami relief works in detail.

Political observers are of the view that Clinton's public remarks on the proposed joint-mechanism would place additional pressure on President Chandrika Kumaratunga to establish and implement the joint-mechanism at the earliest on the one hand, while conveying a clear message to the radical Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), a main coalition partner in her Freedom Alliance Government that the its mere rhetoric opposition to the joint-mechanism would not be accepted by the international community.

"I think that President Kumaratunga is eager to establish the joint-mechanism with the LTTE, but she obviously wanted to talk to people within her coalition and opposition. I urge every political party in the country to look at this strictly on the merits because we need a way of going forward," Mr. Clinton has said at the press conference in Colombo.

"I strongly support the President's claim for the Joint Mechanism because I do want to see reconstruction proceed and I like this country. I like to see it at peace and reconciled," he said.

When asked whether he would play a political role in bringing the parties back to the negotiating table, Clinton said he did not see any such role for himself as his role as UN special envoy for tsunami recovery was meant to help rebuilding efforts in all the tsunami-ravaged countries in the Indian Ocean.

Coming hard on the government's plan of preventing any reconstruction activities within the 100-buffer zone in the coastal belts, Clinton said that it was practically impossible to rebuild the entire tsunami-affected houses within the 100-meter buffer zone.

Clinton left for the Maldives islands later this evening.

External Links:
CNN: Clinton: Tsunami aid sharing might bring peace


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