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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 79

Lasting peace in Sri Lanka rests with LTTE's ability to tra

[b]Lasting peace in Sri Lanka rests with LTTE's ability to transform itself to democracy – President Kumaratunga[/b]

Daya Gamage – US Correspondent to Asian Tribune

[b]New York, N.Y. 15 September ([/b] In a major policy statement to an American audience here about the prospects of peace in Sri Lanka, President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, while declaring that an overwhelming sections of Sri Lankan society support a federal system for greater participation of all ethnic groups in the governance, this alone will not bring a lasting peace unless the Tamil rebel outfit, LTTE, transform itself to a democratic movement.

“While a transformation of the Sri Lankan state from a unitary to a federal one may help include the (minority) Tamil and Muslim communities, it alone will not bring lasting peace. To Achieve peace we also need to deal with the second equally important, but neglected challenge – transforming the LTTE from a dictatorial and ruthless militant group that regularly engages in the use of terror, to a political force that engage with the State and does not resort to violence to make its arguments heard,” the Sri Lankan President stressed.

She made these observations in an address to the New York Chapter of the Asia Society on the theme “For Larger Freedom: Pursuit of Peace in Sri Lanka” on Wednesday, September 14 to a distinguished audience of Asian and American academics and business community and Sri Lankan expatriates.

President of Sri Lanka is in New York to attend the 60th annual General Meeting of the United Nations, which she will address on September 17.

Addressing the Asia Society, she said, “This process needs to be analyzed and addressed in a conscious and systematic manner together with the LTTE.”

Kumaratunga stressed, “Just as the LTTE has a stake in the transformation of the Sri Lankan state, all Sri Lankans have a stake in the transformation of the LTTE.”

President Kumaratunga, talking about her own personal commitment to a lasting peace said, “It is this confidence (for a lasting peace) in the people of Sri Lanka that gave me the courage in 1994 to campaign on the basis of a political solution to the ethnic conflict. We had a resounding victory at nine out of eleven rounds of elections in a period of eleven years, because the people unequivocally endorsed my policy of a negotiated settlement in place of war, and a federal solution as against a separate State.”

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