2ND LEAD (Adds GoSL media release)

Sri Lanka withdraws from CFA

[TamilNet, Thursday, 03 January 2008, 11:29 GMT]
Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama on Thursday evening officially conveyed in writing to the Norwegian Ambassador Tore Hattrem in Colombo that the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) was withdrawing from the February 2002 Cease Fire Agreement (CFA). The message was conveyed to the Ambassador at the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry in Colombo. The CFA formally ends on 16 January, the day after the Tamil festival Thaippongkal. GoSL has also suspended the Status of Mission Agreement (SOMA) with 14-days advance notification.

Ratnasiri Wickramayake, the Sri Lankan Prime Minister, on Wednesday conveyed a proposal to the Sri Lankan cabinet, based on Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's decision to abrogate the ceasefire agreement. The majority of cabinet ministers had supported the proposal, officials at Sri Lankan foreign ministry told media.

The decision was conveyed to media Wednesday night by government spokesman and minister Keheliya Rambukwella.

Velupillai Pirapaharan, the leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, on his annual policy address on November 27, 2007, said that the Rajapaksa regime has shut fast the door for peace, "overconfident of its military victory over the Tamil freedom movement."

"The Sinhala nation has always misunderstood our freedom struggle. It consistently underestimates us," Mr. Pirapaharan observed.

"The Sinhala nation showed eagerness in the peace talks only when we shattered their ‘Operation Fireball’ military action and made them realize that the Tigers cannot be defeated.

"It was only when we proved our military prowess and only when we were militarily in a position of strength that the Sinhala nation signed the ceasefire agreement.

"Now, with abundant monetary and military aid from several countries, it has rehabilitated its destroyed military and has prepared itself for war again. It is yet again walking the military path having abandoned the peace path," the LTTE leader further noted.

Full text of a media release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Colombo, informing the decision to media, follows:

Media Release

The Government of Sri Lanka today (3rd January 2008) formally notified the Royal Norwegian Government of its decision to terminate the Agreement on a “Ceasefire (CFA) between the Government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)” concluded on 22nd February 2002. This notification was in terms of Article 4:4 of this Agreement and will take effect 14 days from the date of this notice i.e. 16th January 2008.

Accordingly, the Status of Mission Agreement (SOMA) on the Establishment and the Management of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) dated 18th March 2002 between the Royal Norwegian Government and the Government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka will also stand terminated with effect from 16th January 2008.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Colombo
3rd January 2008


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