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Jaffna, Mannar Bishops welcome APC

THE Bishops of Jaffna and Mannar, the regions which have experienced the worst form of violence during the past one month, have welcomed the All Party Conference (APC) convened on Thursday by President Mahinda Rajapakse in view of resuming the peace process.

Mannar Bishop Rt.Rev Dr. Rayappu Joseph

Bishop of Jaffna Rt.Rev Thomas Savuntharanayagam

Bishop of Jaffna Rt. Rev Thomas Savuntharanayagam told the Daily News that it was a good effort and he welcomed it.

"We are aware that President Mahinda Rajapakse is making an effort to resume the stalled peace process. First of all what we want is the stability of the Ceasefire Agreement which is now in danger," he said.

"The Ceasefire was brought into pave the way to go ahead with the peace process without any violent interruption. However, following the stalemate in the peace process violence has escalated and the little bit of peace which existed in the North and East is now endangered.

Therefore, efforts must be taken first to stop the violence and stabilise the Ceasefire," Bishop Savuntharanayagam said.

He said the consensus of all political parties was vital for reaching healthy moves with regard to the peace initiatives.

"We appreciate the participation of the main Opposition party in the All Party confab and making its contribution. The Opposition party could come out in a big way in building up the peace efforts.

Therefore without leaving room for delays and postponements, the President should go ahead with his efforts to establish peace.

Norway plays the facilitator's role - however we should understand that it is our country that is going reap the benefit of the peace and not Norway. So let us pray and wish President Rajapakse all success in efforts in making peace," the Jaffna Bishop said.

Mannar Bishop Rt.Rev Dr. Rayappu Joseph referring to the APC said that the President should have convened the conference of this nature soon after he assumed his office. Any way it was not too late.

"The North and East for the past several months have seen the worst violence since the Ceasefire Agreement came into effect three years ago.

All parties should give priority to stopping the violence. If we succeed in ending the violence, I am certain that efforts for building up the peace process will be easier.

"Instead of clamouring for selecting the venue to resume the peace process, it is better to start from the country of the facilitator to build up the confidence between the both parties. Be it the Armed forces personnel or the civilians the loss of lives cannot be condoned.

We also appreciate the multi party approach instead of having a bi-partisan involvement in peace building.

"The President when he met the Bishops a month ago expressed his genuine desire for peace.

We are confident hat he could succeed in his efforts," Bishop Joseph said.



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