We, the undersigned members of the Peace Support Group (PSG) hail the decision
taken by the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil
Eelam (LTTE) to commence formal negotiations in Thailand next month, as part
of the on-going process of resolving the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. We also
wish to congratulate Norway without whose assistance, persistence and facilitation
this historical break-through could not have been achieved.
It must be noted that the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) that was signed on 22 February 2002 by the government and LTTE with Norwegian facilitation, has brought the country six months of respite from war and clearly has the support of the vast majority of people, as numerous public opinion polls have shown. The completion of 160 days of the CFA had also laid much of the ground for direct peace talks in Thailand.
Apart from enabling the discussion of the framework of an Interim Administration and core issues surrounding it, we believe that the formal peace talks in Thailand offer the best prospects for a comprehensive negotiated settlement to the ethnic conflict and a just peace. The Thailand talks will also provide the opportunity to introduce strong human rights guarantees and effective monitoring mechanisms - both of which should form the bedrock of any interim arrangements. It must be recognized that the proposed Interim Administration is only a first step to a permanent solution to the conflict. It should provide short-term stability that would facilitate re-settlement of IDPs, rehabilitation and reconstruction of the conflict affected areas, stabilize economic structures and links, monitor the human rights situation, help promote reconciliation and the emergence of democratic political structures. In this, a heavy burden lies on both the LTTE and the Government to take the process forward. A heavy responsibility also lies with civil society to ensure that the peace process assumes a multi-track approach and is inclusive.
However, all of these gains are being placed in jeopardy due to the contest for political power between the two main political formations, the Peoples Alliance and the United National Party. The PSG, therefore, repeats the call it has made consistently over the past two years, for a bipartisan consensus on the peace process and urges the President and Prime Minister to work out a mutually satisfactory cohabitation agreement. The government and opposition must not permit the on-going peace process to be endangered by their power struggle.
Sunila Abeysekera [sgn.]
Radhika Coomaraswamy [sgn.]
Sunanda Deshapriya [sgn.]
Rohan Edrisinha [sgn.]
Ketheshwaran Loganathan [sgn.]
Jehan Perera [sgn.]
Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu [sgn.]
Javid Yusuf [sgn.]
Jeevan Thiagarajah [sgn.]
Joe William [sgn.]
16th August 2002
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