Friday, 21  February 2003  
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Govt. - LTTE Ceasefire Agreement

Government - Gazette

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Govt satisfied with progress of peace process despite setbacks - Prof. Peiris

by Manjula Fernando and Rajmi Manatunga

The government yesterday expressed its satisfaction over the achievements of the peace process so far, despite the recent setbacks.

Cabinet Spokesman Prof.G.L.Peiris said at the weekly press briefing yesterday that the "greatest achievement of all is the cessation of violence for a continuous period of one year".

"There is no fear, no violence, no bombs going off and no suicide missions now. The fear that had stalked a whole generation has now become a thing of the past," he said.

Emphasising that there had not been a peace process that went forward smoothly without any impediments Prof.Peiris said by today the two parties have been able to lay a firm foundation for a political resolution for the problem. In response to a question on the recent incidents including the detection of smuggled weapons near the Delft and the killing of a soldier by the LTTE, the Minister said they were aware of the impediments. "It will be a case of how you handle the obstacles without damaging the peace process," he said.

"I think that we have everything to be objectively satisfied," the Cabinet spokesman added.

Securing the interest of the international community to revive the foundering economy was one of the major achievements of the Peace Process.

The negotiations also set the stage for two important donor conferences to secure funds for future development projects in the whole country, he said. However, the Minister said that the government has initiated an inquiry into the killing of the soldier as there was a disparity between the versions of the two sides.

The issue of the soldier who is being held by the LTTE has also been taken up constantly at the negotiating table as well as different levels of meetings between Government officials and LTTE representatives. The Minister denied the Government has completely abandoned this issue.

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