Kumaratunga softens opposition to lifting ban

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 17 April 2002, 14:26 GMT]
Bowing to international pressure not to impede the Norwegian peace initiative in Sri Lanka, President Chandrika Kumaratunga Wednesday tempered her long-standing opposition to the de-proscription of the Liberation Tigers, saying careful consideration should be given to it.

"The President is of the view that the decision of lifting the ban on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam should be taken after careful consideration," Harim Peiris, the media spokesman of the Presidential Secretariat, said at a press conference held Wednesday morning.

"The President says that the ban on LTTE in Sri Lanka will not be an obstacle to peace talks," Peiris said.

Political analysts said President Kumaratunga's comments would head off any confrontation with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe, who told reporters this week that his government "would give due consideration to the question of lifting the ban on the LTTE without affecting the international ban on [the movement]."

"The LTTE has raised the de-proscription as the key issue before holding face-to-face talks in Thailand. As such the government is willing to consider its demand favourably," Wickremasinghe said.

The President would send a letter shortly to the Prime Minister outlining her suggestions in taking forward the peace process, Peiris said. The President views the comments made by the LTTE leader Mr.Pirapaharan at his press conference held at Killinochchi last week as a step forward in the present peace process, he added.

 

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