"Parties must work together to diffuse present crisis" - Cushnahan

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 05 November 2003, 13:31 GMT]
In a press release today, Fine Gael Member of European Parliament (MEP) John Cushnahan said that "despite the alarming turn of events over the last 24 hours, they must work together to diffuse the current crisis and ensure the present peace process does not unravel." John Cushnahan, who returned yesterday from Sri Lanka where he was continuing his involvement with the Sri Lankan Peace Process, will raise the issue at today's plenary session of the European Parliament.

Full text of the press release follows:

“The events of the last twenty four hours pose the most serious threat to the peace process.

Ironically, this is in marked contrast to the hopes that were raised at the weekend when the Tamil Tigers unveiled their proposals for an interim self-governing authority for the north-east of the island. Although, there is a large gulf between the LTTE proposals and those of the government, a decision had been taken to recommence negotiations.

Tragically, the events of the last 24 hours have now plunged the peace process into crisis. President Kumaratunga has sacked four key Ministers, she has suspended the parliament and has declared a state of emergency.

When I visited the country in May this year, I had warned that tensions between the UNP led government and the Executive presidency held by the PA party posed the most serious threat to the survival of the country’s fragile peace negotiations.

The situation is exacerbated by the fact that the Sri Lanka Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe is currently out of the country.

The current peace process in Sri Lanka has been supported by the international community, which has pledged 4.5 billion dollars of aid in support of it. They have also pledged to remain deeply engaged in Sri Lanka in the pursuit of construction of permanent peace. Despite the alarming turn of events over the last 24 hours, they must work together to diffuse the current crisis and ensure the present peace process does not unravel."


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