British Minister suggests mediation

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 10 November 1998, 18:35 GMT]
The visiting British Foreign Office Minister Derek Fatchett said at a press conference today that his government was willing to mediate in the Sri Lankan conflict if both parties involved expressed a wish for third party mediation. Mr. Fatchett met the press at Westminster House in Wijerama Mawatte.

Answering a question put forward by a journalist asking whether third party mediation was necessary to resolve the Sri Lankan conflict, Mr. Fatchett said it could be necessary.

He pointed out that the Northern Ireland conflict was resolved with the involvement of a third party and a similar process could be possible in Sri Lanka.

Answering another journalist he said that the Liberation Tigers had not contacted his government regarding a mediatory role.

Mr. Fatchett said that implementation of the bipartisan agreement between the governing People's Alliance (PA) and the main opposition party, the United National Party (UNP), mediated by Mr. Liam Fox, the former Foreign Office Minister, was important.

As in Northern Ireland, both parties should come together to work towards the people's wish for peace, he said further.

When asked, by a journalist, if new British anti-terrorism legislation would control the activities of the Liberation Tigers in Briton, the Minister replied by saying that the new laws would prevent any organisation engaging in terrorist activities from using Britain as a base.

On sales of torture equipment to Sri Lanka he said there is a ban on sales of such equipment to countries involved in disrupting regional harmony and to countries that violate human rights in internal conflicts.

Further to this a journalist said that there is evidence suggesting that Britain had supplied torture equipment to Sri Lanka in 1997. Mr. Fatchett denied this and said that he suspects the document to be false.


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