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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 81

President Rajapakse offers his hand of friendship...........

[b]President Rajapakse offers his hand of friendship to Prabhakaran and invites him to immediate talks[/b]

[b]Colombo, 29 November, ([/b]Presenting a wide-ranging survey of Sri Lankan issues to the diplomatic community yesterday President Mahinda Rajapakse once again extended his hand of friendship to the LTTE.

He told the diplomats: “I reiterate my invitation to Mr. Prabhakaran for talks. We can resume work immediately on reviewing the operation of the ceasefire, whilst we prepare ourselves for eventual substantive talks leading to a lasting solution. These processes can work in parallel and not necessarily sequentially.”

He added: “My deep commitment to pursuing the process through broad based consultations and with the assistance of all those friendly countries, which have helped us in the past, needs no reiteration. In this regard, I have directed the Foreign Minister and the Peace Secretariat to initiate consultations with the Co- chairs - Japan, United States, EU and Norway."

“To me the peace process is not about posturing to win favour with anyone, nationally or internationally. It is about resolving a very complex issue that has polarized the very fabric of our society. My agenda is very clear, the process of achieving peace must be founded on trust and confidence. Most importantly, peace must be built on commitments that can be delivered in full. It is towards this end that I build consensus within the political landscape, so that the agreements that we reach at peace talks are fully deliverable.

“Notwithstanding the incidents in the North and in the East in the run-up to and on the day of the Presidential Election, I hope the LTTE will not henceforth be negative to the free and fair exercise of the franchise at all levels of future elections. I also hope it will, respond positively to my call for talks without delay. What I have outlined is an approach based on democracy, human rights, transparency and simplicity. I wish to start work in consultation with all stakeholders.

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