Wednesday, 22 September 2004  
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War is not the answer - Mangala

The Government firmly believes in a negotiated settlement to the ethnic conflict, Ports, Aviation and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera said yesterday.

Addressing a ceremony held in Colombo to mark World Peace Day, Minister Samaraweera said war was not the answer to the conflict and that the Government has shown flexibility in its approach to the negotiations.

He said both sides should match words with deeds as far as the peace process was concerned. There should be a sense of give and take on both sides.

"Many who advocated war have now realised its futility. People on both sides of the divide are war weary. This realisation is a strong point in the quest for peace." He expressed the hope that peace negotiations could commence soon.

The Minister reminded the audience that it was President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga who first outlined to the Sinhala dominated areas the importance of evolving a negotiated settlement to the ethnic conflict.

She received a resounding mandate at successive elections for her stand on the ethnic conflict. She was the first Sinhala leader to utter the word federalism before Sinhala audiences.

The Tamil version of the Peace Secretariat Website was launched at this ceremony, along with a stamp commemorating World Peace Day.

The Minister said the Tamil website will enable the Tamil diaspora to get the latest unbiased information on the peace process.

Posts, Telecommunications and Udarata Development Minister D.M. Jayaratne, UNDP Resident Representative Miguel Bermeo and Deputy Director General of the Peace Secretariat Dr. John Gooneratne also spoke.


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