Many mediation offers are not genuine - Kadirgamar

[TamilNet, Monday, 18 January 1999, 14:03 GMT]
Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar said that sixteen countries are keen to mediate in the island's ethnic conflict. But only a few of these are genuine Mr. Kadirgamar added while speaking to journalists at a press conference in his ministry this afternoon.

kadirgamar_lakshman_2-p.jpgHe claimed that many foreign persons and institutions are taking an interest to mediate for personal motives such as winning the Nobel price for peace etc.,

The minister categorically denied that South African President Nelson Mandela intends to mediate in Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict. Mr.Kadirgamar dismissed as idle speculation reports that Mandela is expected to visit Sri Lanka.

The Foreign ministry convened the press conference this morning at 11.30 a.m. to apprise the press about 'Focus Lanka' to be held in Australia from January 28.

'Focus Lanka' is a promotion program that includes Sri Lankan food festivals, investment seminars and exhibits, cultural shows etc.,

It will be held in Sydney from January 28 to February 3 and in Melbourne from February 5 to February 11.

Journalists asked the minister whether the LTTE's South African connection had been blown out of proportion by the Sri Lankan government (SLG).

Mr. Kadirgamar told them "we cannot pussy foot on these matters". He said that the SLG has to make a "big noise" to prevent the LTTE from finding a safe haven in any country.

The minister also claimed that India has told the SLG that it would not have a problem if Colombo were to begin negotiations with Prabhaharan.

A journalist asked him whether former Northeastern Province chief minister Annamalai Varatharajapperumaal would be arrested for unilaterally declaring Eelam before fleeing to India in 1990.

"That is a good question" Mr.Kadirgamar responded, thoughtfully.

Apparently pondering the question for a while, he added "It is premature to say anything on the matter".

Meanwhile at another press conference in Colombo today Minister of Plantation Industries Mr.Ratnasiri Wickrmanayaka said that the Sri Lankan Government will not invite any foreign dignitaries for the country's independence day celebrations which will be held at the Independence Square near down town Colombo.

He said that the President will address the nation on the occasion.

 

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