US, UK welcome Tamil Federal solution

[TamilNet, Friday, 06 December 2002, 16:17 GMT]
The United States and United Kingdom Thursday applauded the agreement reached between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to work towards a Federal model. The historic breakthrough was made at the third round of peace talks held in Oslo this week.

"The United States regards as extremely positive the announcement that the two sides have made progress in discussing political issues by agreeing to work to establish a federal structure within a united Sri Lanka," said a statement by US State Department Deputy Spokesman. Philip T. Reeker

"We salute both sides and the Norwegian government for moving the peace process forward and welcome further progress toward a negotiated settlement based on the principles of democracy and respect for human rights, while maintaining the country's territorial integrity," the press statement said. "As we have said before, we hope that the outcome of negotiations will pay due regard to the security and well-being of all communities."

The UK also applauded the agreement, which will explore a solution to the long running ethnic conflict encompassing Tamil aspirations for internal self-determination.

"I warmly welcome the significant progress made during the latest round of peace talks between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE. The two sides agreed to explore a solution founded on the principle of internal self-determination for the Tamil people, based on a federal structure within a united Sri Lanka," said Foreign Office Minister Mike O'Brien. "It is important that the two sides have undertaken to address human rights, including the priorities and needs of women in the peace process, and the situation of children affected by armed conflict."

"I continue to applaud the commitment and will of the two parties to work together. There is still a lot of work to do. But I am encouraged that the progress being made will lead towards a solution that meets the aspirations of all communities of Sri Lanka," Mr O'Brien said.

On November 25, Britain's International Development Secretary, Clare Short, announced an additional £8 million for the Sri Lankan peace process in 2003. This was in addition to the £2.6 million already committed this year to quick impact projects and £6.8 million for longstanding programmes to assist internally displaced people.


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