Congressional briefing on SriLanka held

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 04 April 2001, 17:14 GMT]
gilman.jpg"A true and comprehensive peace cannot be achieved through armed conflict. To be clear -- no one can 'win' the war in Sri Lanka. Rather, the road to a true and genuine peace can only be achieved through good faith negotiations without pre-conditions. As an initial first step of goodwill by both sides to the conflict, an internationally monitored cease fire should be agreed to by the parties to the conflict and unconditional discussions on a comprehensive settlement should begin," said Rep. Gilman at a congressional briefing on Sri Lanka held in the committee room of the House International Relations Committee in Washington D.C. last Thursday. Gilman is Chair of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia.

Following Rep. Gilman's remarks, Rep. Sherrod Brown greeted the attendees and expressed his concern about events in Sri Lanka. Rep. Brown is a senior member of the International Relations Committee.

The briefing was attended by many congressmen from different U.S states, a large number of congressional staff, and several members of the Tamil American community, both Sri Lankan and Indian. The event was co-chaired by Rep. Gilman and Rep. Sherrod Brown.

brown.jpgPresentations by members of the Association of Tamil Americans covered the history of the national conflict, human rights violations, and the current status of the peace negotiations. It was recommended that the US Government support the Norwegian peace initiative more vigorously, including pushing for the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding which is designed to de-escalate the conflict.

Other recommendations were to stop all military and financial aid to Sri Lanka until a peace settlement is reached and to advocate for the elimination of human rights violations, the embargo on food and medicine and media censorship of the conflict and conflict areas.

In the discussions at the end of the briefing, concerns about the appropriateness and quantity of current American aid to Sri Lanka were raised.

 

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