"Opportunities exist to strengthen peace process"- Donor co-chairs

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 25 January 2005, 21:36 GMT]
In a joint press statement issued by the co-chairs after the Brussels meeting Tuesday, the Sri Lanka Donors ''welcomed the ongoing effective response by the GoSL and the LTTE in distributing humanitarian aid'' and urged the donors to ''ensure [that] the implementation of Tsunami assistance is sensitive to and strengthens the Peace Process.''

Full text of the press statement follows:

Sri Lanka Donor Co-Chairs Meeting
Tokyo Conference on Reconstruction and Development of Sri Lanka
Brussels, Belgium
Joint Press Statement, January 25, 2005

Sri Lanka Donors express support in wake of Tsunami

1. The Sri Lanka donor Co-chairs came together today to express their support to Sri Lanka in the wake of the tsunami disaster and to evaluate how best to build confidence and strengthen the Peace Process.

2. The Co-chairs of the Tokyo Conference on Reconstruction and Development of Sri Lanka (the United States, the European Union, Japan and Norway) met in Brussels 25 January 2005 to further discuss their support for the Peace Process following the tsunami disaster that hit the North, the East and South coasts of Sri Lanka 26 December.

3. The Co-chairs joined the international community in expressing deep felt sympathy and their support to the reconstruction of the devastated areas in all parts of Sri Lanka. They further expressed their gratitude to the people of Sri Lanka who unselfishly and regardless of their own suffering caused by the disaster helped rescue many foreign tourists hit by the tidal wave.

4. They welcomed -- as a sign of reconciliation -- the statements by the government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the wake of the tsunami addressing all victims of the disaster regardless of ethnic and religious origin. They welcomed the overall well functioning practical collaboration on the ground between the two parties in the North and the East.

5. Co-chairs welcomed the ongoing effective response by the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE in distributing humanitarian aid to people of all ethnic and religious communities and political affiliations. They also welcomed the very effective and impressive local and private response of the Sri Lankan people to assist the victims of the tsunami disaster.

6. The Co-chairs support the Government and the LTTE efforts too strengthen cooperation on assistance for relief, rehabilitation and development in the tsunami affected areas of the North and East.

7. Co-chairs emphasised that in the midst of this tremendous natural disaster, renewed opportunities exist to build confidence and to strengthen the Peace Process.

8. The Co-chairs support donors in their efforts to ensure that the implementation of the tsunami assistance is sensitive to and strengthens the Peace Process.

9. The Co-chairs called on donors and all parties to ensure that tsunami assistance adheres to basic principles of equity, transparency and accountability. It should be focused on objective local needs and priorities. The participation of local and international civil society and all political parties will be crucial.

10. Co-chairs called on international donors and aid organizations to cooperate and coordinate their tsunami assistance with each other and with all relevant parties in Sri Lanka.

11. They called on the government and the LTTE to do their utmost to continue to respect and observe the Ceasefire Agreement as the basis for the Peace Process and were pleased to note that, by and large, the ceasefire has been upheld for almost three years with the very able assistance of the Nordic Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission. The ceasefire allows donors to continue to address the needs of the poor and conflict affected people in the whole of the country.

12. The Co-chairs also reassured their continued full confidence in and support to Norway's challenging task as facilitator.

13. The Co-chairs noted again that a peace settlement can only be sustained if it respects the legitimate rights and involvement of all ethnic groups, preserves the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka and is based on the principles of democracy and respect of human rights.

14. The Co-chairs agreed to meet again in the coming months to further discuss the advancement of the Peace Process.


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