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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2760

Pope initiative may lead to UN peacekeeping in Sri Lanka

By Joseph Thavaraja

Colombo, 20 April, ( A successful audience with Pope Benedict XVI by President Mahinda Rajapakse may lead to the possible arrival (later) of United Nations (UN) peacekeepers in the country, hinted 'Caritas Australia' today. If all goes well, the UN peacekeepers would possibly take on from where Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission left, it is further learnt.
To this end, the Australians are "keenly watching the outcome of President Rajapakse's audience with His Holiness the Pope", it is reported.

Caritas Australia belongs to one of the largest international aid and development networks in the world called Caritas International. It consists of a network of 162 Catholic relief, development and social service organizations in over 200 countries and territories.

"The Australian Government needs to be vigilant as to the outcomes of this papal initiative. A revitalized peace process would be of great benefit. Australia is independent and well regarded and can play a pivotal role in encouraging the Sri Lankan Government to accept a UN auspiced human rights monitoring mission" hinted Jack de Groot, Chief Executive Officer of Caritas Australia on April 20.

De Groot said that UN Monitors on the ground in Sri Lanka will affect the behaviour of all parties to the conflict, thereby protecting lives. "A number of states already promote the monitoring mission and Australia's active involvement would encourage the USA, India and other key states to support the initiative" he added.

"Where talk of peace in Sri Lanka is seen as grounds for treason amongst some protagonists in the conflict, we see the initiative of the Catholic Church to invite President Rajapakse to meet with the Pope as highly significant", Mr de Groot of Caritas Australia emphasized in a release.

- Asian Tribune -

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