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Doors still open for dialogue with Tamil Tigers: Lankan FM

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, Aug 24, IRNA
Sri Lanka-Peace Talks-Minister
Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera has said that the Government still believed that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) would give up its path of violence and enter the process of dialogue without placing any conditions.

"It is now time for the LTTE to focus on the substantial core issues of devolution of power rather than chase an unattainable chimera of a mono-ethnic separate state which does not belong in today's civilized world," the Minister asserted, according to a report published in Sri Lanka's National newspaper "Daily News".

Participating in the adjournment debate on the current situation in the North and East Wednesday in Parliament, the Minister urged the LTTE to shun violence and become a member of a democratic pluralistic society.

The Minister said the majority of people in Sri Lanka including most of the Tamil people believe in a pluralistic, democratic society and reject the concept of a separate state demarcated on ethnic lines.

"The only way to resolve the conflict is through negotiations and the Government remains fully committed to a political process to address the genuine grievances of the Tamil speaking people of this country", he said. The Minister said that Government has always maintained that it remains ready for talks anytime on both the Ceasefire Agreement and other substantive matters.

"Even at this late stage it is imperative that the LTTE also show genuine commitment to solving Tamil issues through negotiations not only by word but by deed as well", the Minister said.

However the Minister asserted that such cessation of hostilities should not be used by the LTTE as they have done in the past to regroup and strengthen themselves militarily.

The Minister also said that like all international terror organizations it is obvious that the LTTE too is now targeting other countries which may be assisting Sri Lanka's campaign against terrorism.

"Since President Rajapaksa was sworn in on November 19, 2005 until now, despite the continuous killing we did not fire a single shot offensively. Whatever deterrent action that were carried out were limited in scope and time", the Minister said.

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