2nd Lead (add corrections)

Parties should look for common ground - Schaffer

[TamilNet, Thursday, 06 November 2003, 11:31 GMT]
Teresita Schaffer, former Ambassador of the United States to Sri Lanka and currently Director for South Asia, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington DC, told TamilNet Wednesday that it was "important for the government [of Sri Lanka] and the LTTE to start looking for common ground" and that she hoped "the current political crisis in Sri Lanka does not disrupt this vital task."

Teresita Schaffer
Ambassador Teresita Schaffer
When asked to comment on the LTTE's proposal, possibilities for peace and how the President's action has impacted the peace process, Ambassador Schaffer said, "In my view, the LTTE has presented an ambitious proposal, a vision that is more like a final settlement than an interim arrangement. However, now that the government and the LTTE have put their ideas on the table, it's important for them to start looking for common ground - though at the moment they are far apart. I hope that the current political crisis in Sri Lanka does not disrupt this vital task."

Professor Mia Bloom, responding to the same question, told TamilNet, "Kumaratunge's actions appear to be a clear attempt to elicit a violent response from the LTTE to justify ex post facto those policies that would negatively impact the possibility of peace in Sri Lanka.

"The President's intent appears to be a deliberate scuttling of the peace process and, if the leaders of the Tamil community can see the transparency of her thinly veiled attempt to bait them, I would sincerely hope that they do not give her the satisfaction and that they maintain their dedication and committment to pursuing peace through a negotiated settlement.

"I sincerely hope that cooler heads prevail and that all groups continue to work for peace -- something the Tamil and Sinhalese communities deserve after a generation of war," said Prof.Bloom.

Mia Bloom was a professor at Cornell University and is now based at the Center for Global Security and Democracy at Rutgers University. She is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

 

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