|Friday, 11 July 2003|
by Manjula Fernando, Rajmi Manatunga and Sarah McAllister
The Government yesterday emphasised the need to resume negotiations with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in order to reach a consensus on the proposed provisional administrative structure.
Government Chief Negotiator, Minister and Cabinet Spokesman Prof.G.L. Peiris said at the weekly Cabinet briefing that the government's fresh set of proposals comprising basic features of the proposed structure will be submitted to the LTTE through the Norwegian facilitators within the next few days.
"These are not final proposals which the LTTE could accept or reject. The final elements of the proposed structure should be decided through direct discussions. The document cannot be finalised until such a time," he said. The Minister said the government's set of proposals outlining the basic structure are almost ready.
The Government is contemplating a critical evaluation of the progress of the six rounds of peace talks held so far. Prof. Peiris said: "We think this is an appropriate time for a critical evaluation to identify the shortcomings in the past and make amendments for the future."
The evaluation which the government plans to carry out together with the LTTE, will also focus on the format of future talks. Asked whether there will be a change in the government delegation, he replied it will be required to call experts on different subjects on the basis of the matter under discussion at each round of talks.
However, he said they were more concerned about the stability of the peace process than the speed at which it is concluded.
"We are not in a desperate hurry to put the show back on track," he explained. Responding to a question by the media, the Chief Negotiator said there will be Muslim representation at the discussions to finalise the modalities of the interim administrative structure. Referring to proposals by Muslim leaders demanding equal status in the forthcoming administration, he said that they have not received any official requests yet.
The Government negotiating team met Opposition Members in Parliament yesterday to brief them on the current situation of the peace process.
Produced by Lake House