'Second round peace talks on firm foundation'- Peiris

[TamilNet, Friday, 25 October 2002, 14:33 GMT]
The Sri Lankan government Friday said a firm foundation has been laid for the second round of peace talks with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. A Sri Lanka Army Major General will be among the three advisors to the government delegation for the talks scheduled to commence on October 31 at Thailand.

The first round of peace talks has been an enormous success beyond all expectations," said Constitutional Affairs Minister and the head of the government peace delegation, Professor G.L.Peiris , at a cabinet press briefing Friday.

"The second round of peace talks will focus on three keys issues. The first issue will be the formation of the Joint Task Force, which is an important prerequest in preparation for a summit of donor countries for Sri Lanka scheduled to be held on November 25 at Oslo in Norway. The government has received a favourable response in this regard.

"The second issue will be the resettlement of displaced persons due to war.

"The third issue will be strengthening the ceasefire implementation," said Minister Peiris.

The Cabinet spokesman Professor Peiris further said that there would not be any change in the ongoing peace process as a result of the present political climate in the country.

"There will not be any change in the composition of the government delegation. The same members participated in the first round of talks will be in the government delegation in addition to three advisors including Major General Shantha Kottegoda of the SLA stationed at Vavuniya. The other two advisors are Mr. John Gunaretna of Peace Secretariat and Mr.Chanaka Jayasekara," said Minister Peiris.

The Constitutional Minister appealed all political parties to extend their co-operation to the United National Front government to carry on the peace mandate it received from the people in December 2001 parliamentary election. "People have given a clear mandate to the UNF to achieve peace. We cannot abandon this mandate for an alternate proposal," stressed Professor Peiris in reply to a question commenting on the appeal made by President Chandrika Kumaratunge in her televised speech to the nation Thursday night.

President Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge in her speech made an appeal to all political parties to join hands with her to implement the mandate she received in two presidential elections to achieve peace in the country.

 

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