Foreign Minister Tyronne Fernando today welcomed the LTTE’s declaration of a unilateral ceasefire and described it as a new development.
“Now they have recognized this election has mandated the government for peace; any gesture we will be reciprocating it,” he said in an exclusive interview with the PRIU, Friday afternoon.
Meanwhile Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe who will lead Sri Lanka’s delegation in discussions with Indian leaders in New Delhi had a meeting with President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, Thursday.
On your visit to India, will you be discussing the issue of peace?
Yes very definitely. The purpose of our visit is to strengthen bilateral ties, talk about SAARC, but of course about the peace process. India has been very helpful, generally. We intend to continue with the Norwegian peace process and we want that process strengthened by India.
PRIU: When you say strengthened, do you mean bringing back Eric Solheim in leading the process?
FM: No, that is up to the Norwegians. We have not given up, in fact our Prime Minister has been in touch with the Norwegians, the Norwegian Ambassador. And we are carrying on with that initiative. It has nothing to with a particular person. It is up to the Norwegians to select who they want. There’s a new government also.
But as far as India is concerned, there’s a new development now. There’s a new development with regard to the LTTE. The LTTE declaring a unilateral ceasefire – we welcome that.
We have of course seen these ceasefires earlier and they have come to nothing, but anyway, we have to keep trying.
Now they have recognized this election has mandated the government for peace; any gesture we will be reciprocating it.
PRIU: Do you see India playing a bigger role in the peace process than in previous years?
FM: Well, I can tell you that after we come back.
PRIU: Would you like for them to?
FM: I would like anything that will help the peace process.
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