Solution still possible, says departing French Ambassador

[TamilNet, Monday, 17 July 2006, 10:39 GMT]
Pointing that France's motto of "Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood," is adopted as founding principles of many countries, H. E. Jean Bernard de Vaivre, Ambassdor of France in Colombo, said that all parties should "seek a common solution, a solution which respects the different cultures, languages, religions and ways of life which exist in this country," in a press release issued on the national day of France.

Full text of the press release follows:

"Today, France, a country which established itself as a nation over a number centuries and definitively so more than half a millenium ago, celebrates her National Day on July 14 under her national motto of "Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite". These principles are now widely regarded as universal, having been adopted as the founding principles of many countries around the world.

Sri Lanka is a country with an ancient civilization with whom France has maintained diplomatic relations since 1948. I shall spare you a detailed catalogue of all our achievements between two "Bastille Day" and will also refrain from throwing around any figures in this regard. Suffice it to say, that over the last 18 months, we have ensured that every Euro coming from French government coffers has been judiciously spent by our NGOs for the rehabilitation of zones on this Island affected by the catastrophe and for the assistance of its people. The teaching of the French language here has made significant headway thanks to new initiatives and the sustained activities of the four Alliance françaises.

In the business field, fruitful exchanges have been established between French and Sri Lankan companies and these will be given further impetus when several French business concerns visit in the next few months. Some of them have participated in the organisation of to-day's reception and I wish to acknowledge their valuable contribution.

In some few months, my stay in this beautiful country will come to an end. I am indeed saddened to note that this Island is now more torn apart than when I presented my credentials in 2003. Since December 2005, violence, attacks have continued without cease and have reached a deplorable level.

Violence and terrorism cannot solve anything. Those in favour of such an approach will never be supported and will never receive the backing either of France or the international community. The LTTE was eventually added to the list of terrorist organisations because it consistently refused to change its behaviour despite the repeated communications sent to it over the years.

Equally, however, the State should not tolerate any reprehensible actions from few members of its representatives and ought to take exemplary measures against those found to have been responsible for them. More than 60 000 people, mostly civilians, have already lost their lives for nothing. It is high time that all parties sit side by side around a table to seek a common solution, a solution which respects the different cultures, languages, religions and ways of life which exist in this country. I believe a solution is still possible. It is high time that pretexts sought in order to put off dialogue or to reject it are renounced.

Sri Lanka possesses so much potential talent, so many skills within each of its large communities that it is high time that they put an end to the quarrels of the past and turn towards the future. From the bottom of my heart this is what I sincerely hope for all our Sri Lankan friends as I prepare to leave these shores after three years of mission. I do know that the large majority of them want to live in peace again.

In this purpose, may I ask to raise your glasses for the reconcialitation of all Sri Lankan and the success of the different tasks of the President."


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