|Sunday, 14 April 2002|
Government considers lifting LTTE ban
The Government and the LTTE moved closer to direct peace talks as the Government indicated yesterday that the de-proscription of the LTTE was becoming feasible as the Tigers progressively moved away from military action and entered civilian democratic politics.
Foreign Affairs Minister Tyronne Fernando told the 'Sunday Observer' yesterday that in view of the gradual entry of the LTTE into civilian politics, the Government was prepared to consider the lifting of the current ban on that organisation.
The Foreign Minister was commenting on LTTE Leader V. Prabhakaran's reported insistence, at his media conference in Kilinochchi last week, that the ban on the LTTE should be lifted if it was to participate in the direct face-to-face talks scheduled to be held in Thailand. Mr. Fernando indicated that the issue of de-proscription should not be a problem if the LTTE clearly indicated a shift away from military activity and embraced civilian politics.
The direct peace talks in Thailand were originally due to be held in May, but diplomatic sources close to the facilitation process disclosed that the talks are now scheduled for early June.
Diplomatic sources also indicated a trend in favour of de-proscription prior to the commencement of talks.
PM: 'We must move forward'
by Ariyaratne Ganegoda
The readiness expressed by the LTTE in the Kilinochchi press conference to accept a political solution of internal self-determination without a division of the country is a important new development and opens new vistas in the peace process, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told a conference of newly elected members of local government bodies at the BMICH, Colombo, yesterday. He also disclosed that the planned direct talks between the Government and the LTTE were now scheduled for June.
The Premier observed that while the majority of the people had doubts about the sincerity of the LTTE, the LTTE too had its doubts about the Sri Lanka government. "But the hope for peace in this country has increased. The people have given a mandate to the Government and the politicians to work for peace. It is from this point that we must move forward," the Prime Minister said.
"There will be many problems as we move forward in the peace process. These problems cannot be solved overnight," he pointed out.
Produced by Lake House