hopes President will take bold step
[Friday, January 18, 2008 - 5.25 GMT]
Dr. Kim Howells,
British Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
concluding the Adjournment Debate of the House of Commons on Sri Lanka
on January 17, referring to the forthcoming proposals of the All Party
Representative Committee (APRC) expressed hope that President Mahinda
Rajapaksa "will take a bold step" to "put an end to dashed hopes and
aspirations and lost opportunities," this year, "which marks the 60th
Anniversary of Sri Lankan independence."
Referring to the present political situation in Sri Lanka he said:
"The LTTE needs to embrace democratic principles, encourage an open
debate on what a just political solution for the Tamils might resemble
and commit to pursuing its aims through peaceful means. . the use of
terrorism and murder since 1983 has brought only misery and suffering to
many innocent people in Sri Lanka. It continues to do so.
"The Sri Lankan Government, having ended the ceasefire, bears a heavy
responsibility to deliver their commitment to produce a just political
solution that satisfies the legitimate aspirations of all Sri Lankans.
That must happen soon.
"Britain remains ready to help. The international community has to stay
engaged to help Sri Lanka find a way back to a sustainable peace
"When President Rajapaksa launched the APRC 18 months ago, he spoke of
the need to take the necessary bold steps to put an end to dashed hopes
and aspirations and lost opportunities. I hope that, this year, which
marks the 60th anniversary of Sri Lankan independence, the President
will take a bold lead to achieve just that. I remind him that the world
is watching and waiting."
He also added, "Protection of human rights in Sri Lanka will remain a
high priority for the international community with, we hope, a more
prominent role for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
in Sri Lanka. Moreover, it should be guaranteed the security required to
undertake its work."
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Date: January 18, 2008 - 5.25 GMT