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Sri Lanka Government Responds to ISGA, 1 November 2003
Norwegian Peace Initiative
Sri Lanka Government Responds to ISGA
The way forward lies through direct
discussion - GoSL
1 November 2003
The government of Sri Lanka in a statement said that though
the proposals "differ in fundamental respect" from the proposals
submitted by the government of Sri Lanka, ''the government
is convinced that the way forward lies through direct
discussions of the issues arising from both sets of proposals.''
The full text of the press release follows:
The Government of Sri Lanka has received the proposal submitted by
the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to the Ambassador of
Norway on 31st October 2003.
This document outlines the LTTE’s vision regarding the framework for
a political solution to the conflict. It differs in fundamental
respects from the proposals submitted by the Government of Sri
Lanka. Both documents contain proposals in respect of which no
agreement has been reached so far.
While the disparities between the positions of the parties are
evident, the Government is convinced that the way forward lies
through direct discussion of the issues arising from both sets of
The Government of Sri Lanka reiterates its firm commitment to a
negotiated settlement and is convinced that it is not in the
interest of either party to resume hostilities. The current
ceasefire has held for almost two years and has brought relief and
tranquility, with a variety of accompanying benefits, to the
country. It is our earnest desire that all aspects of the peace
dividend should be shared equally by the people of the North and
East and the South.
The negotiations that were held between the parties over a period of
seven months until the suspension of talks in April this year
resulted in agreement regarding a series of core principles
representing the foundation of a just and viable political
settlement. Pre-eminent among the documents which articulated these
principles was the Oslo Declaration of December 2002. The
international community gave emphatic support to the peace process
and consistently emphasized the principle of partnership.
More recently, the Prime Ministers of Sri Lanka and India, in the
joint communiqué issued in New Delhi at the end of the official
visit by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to India in October
2003, made a definitive statement about the parameters within which
a negotiated political solution should be arrived at.
It is the conviction of the Government of Sri Lanka that the
challenge at present is to consolidate and build upon the gains
accruing to the country from the process so far and to direct its
future course to reach a sustainable settlement.
Human rights, democracy, pluralism and genuine power sharing
constitute, in our view, the basic values underpinning a negotiated
settlement. We regard these values as essential and indispensable in
the context of an interim structure and indeed with regard to the
peace process culminating in a final accord. The Government is
committed to pursuing negotiations in keeping with the principles
reflected in the documents referred to above.
Accordingly, the Government will request the Royal Norwegian
Government, in its capacity as facilitator, to arrange an initial
meeting in late November or early December to address a range of
preliminary matters in order to pave the way for the resumption of
substantive talks very early in the New Year.
The Government’s approach to these talks is one of principled
negotiation directed towards the establishment of common ground in
respect of significantly divergent positions.
A copy of the LTTE’s proposals received by the Government from the
Ambassador of Norway in the evening of Friday 31 October, will be
made available by the Hon. Prime Minister to Her Excellency the
A further copy will be given by the Hon. Prime Minister to the Hon.
Rauf Hakeem to enable formulation of the Muslim response to these
proposals in due course.
Copies will also be made available officially to leaders of
Professor G L Peiris