Positive response from Pirapaharan - Patten

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 26 November 2003, 17:34 GMT]
The European Union(EU)'s External Relations Commissioner, Mr. Chris Patten, said Wednesday that the international community has welcomed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam for eschewing violence and entering political negotiations to find a solution to the conflict. Mr. Patten said that he had told the LTTE leader that a political solution to the conflict should be found under a federal political system as declared in the Oslo conference.

Mr. Patten made his comments while addressing a press briefing Wednesday evening at the Hilton Hotel in Colombo at the end of his two-day working tour to Sri Lanka.

Expressing his views on the Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA) proposals submitted by the LTTE, he said that the ISGA does not fall under a federal system.

He said that he also told the LTTE leader, Mr.V. Pirapaharan, that he was against achieving political ends by violence. Though he did not say what the LTTE leader said in response, he said that Mr. Pirapaharan had assured him of his commitment to the current peace process.

On his return from Kilinochchi, he met the envoys of India, Norway and United States of America in Colombo, political sources said.

He said that he conveyed the expectations of the international community to the LTTE in the discussion he had with Mr. Pirapaharan Wednesday morning in Kilinochchi. Mr. Patten said he received a positive response from the LTTE leader for his requests made during the discussion.

Mr. Patten said that the EU would support all parties to the peace process to find a lasting and durable political solution to the conflict without damaging the sovereignty of the country.

However, he said the EU would not interfere in the internal affairs of the country.

People of the country would realize the importance of his visit today to Sri Lanka when more students attend schools, more get admission to universities and would be able to lead a healthy life with peace of mind in future, he said in reply to a question.

Mr. Patten thanked those who burnt his effigy to protest his visit to Kilinochchi to meet with Mr.Pirapaharan.


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