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Sinn Fein Chief Negotiator meets Hakeem

SINN Fein Chief Negotiator Martin McGuiness yesterday met Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) leader Rauff Hakeem and discussed the Muslim community's concerns and aspirations regarding the peace process, a release said.

McGuiness explained to Hakeem the discussions his delegation had with President Mahinda Rajapakse, it said.

The release added: "The SLMC leader apprised McGuiness of the political aspirations of the Muslims and his own involvement in the peace process as a member of the Government delegation earlier.

He explained of the Muslims' aspirations with regard to their participation as a separate delegation in the peace process and its recognition by the international community as per the Tokyo Declaration.

Hakeem shared some of his thoughts on LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran's ideology and sustained diplomatic initiatives to achieve the LTTE's objectives.

He told of the agreement he had signed with the LTTE leader which had brought some marginal benefits to the Muslims but could not be implemented continuously. He said police and judiciary established by the LTTE in their areas have posed threats to the Muslim community.

The atrocities committed by the LTTE against the Muslims including the slaying of Muslims inside mosques were explained to McGuiness.

The need for adequate security to the Muslims and the issue relating to their lands were some of the major problems being encountered by the Muslims, Hakeem said.

McGuiness took note of the SLMC Leaders concerns and responded positively when Hakeem expressed his desire for a high level SLMC delegation to visit Northern Ireland to meet senior Sinn Fein leader to learn from their experience for the benefit of the Muslim community."

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