Sinn Fein negotiator to visit Sri Lanka
[TamilNet, Monday, 16 January 2006, 11:09 GMT]
Mr Martin McGuinness, Chief Negotiator of Sinn Fein, the Political Wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) from Northern Ireland will be visiting Sri Lanka from 17th to 19th January, a press release from Initiative for Political Transformation (INPAC) an NGO based in Colombo issued Monday said. Mr McGuinness is expected to meet leaders of political parties to share his experiences and "communicate his understanding of the issues affecting political, conflict, peace processes within the country [Sri Lanka]," the release added.
Full text of the release follows:
Mr Martin McGuinness, Chief Negotiator of Sinn Féin is visiting Sri Lanka from the 17th to the 19th of January 2006 on an invitation extended by inpact.
During his short visit Mr McGuinness will meet with leaders and members of various political parties and groups. While sharing his own experiences as a negotiator in Northern Ireland he will also communicate his understanding of the issues affecting political/conflict/peace processes within the country.
Since been elected to the Executive of Sinn Féin, Martin McGuinness has played a major role in promoting and supporting the strategy of the current peace process in Northern Ireland. He was a leading representative in the 1972 talks with the then British Secretary of State, William Whitelaw, in London. He led the party's delegation which, following the IRA cessation (of armed action) of 31st. August 1994, met with the British Minister, Michael Ancram, on several occasions. Prior to that he represented Sinn Féin in protracted secret contact and negotiations with representatives of the British government from 1990 until 1993.
In 1997 he was elected Member of Parliament for the Mid-Ulster constituency and reelected again in 2001. In 1998 he was elected to the Assembly for the same constituency. He became Minister for Education in the new Northern Ireland Assembly in
November 1999 and was widely acclaimed for his work.