High expectations and unspoken commitment in Geneva
Talks begin today :
SWITZERLAND: The Government delegation taking part in the
peace talks which begin here today at the Geneva International
Conference Centre, is full of expectations and unspoken commitment.
The delegation wants to see some form of progress in the talks, which
was stalled by the LTTE after the first round of talks held in February
this year. The Government delegation led by Minister Nimal Siripala de
Silva is working tirelessly and looking at all possible options.
Minister de Silva was seen preparing his opening statement early
yesterday morning while Minister Ferial Ashraff was working with the
Peace Secretariat staff.
Secretary General of the Peace Secretariat Dr. Palitha Kohona said
the Government would make every effort with the commitment to achieve
something for the Tamil people of Sri Lanka as directed by President
The Government delegation intends to focus on the establishment of
democracy in the North and the East, encourage gradual establishment of
pluralistic elections, tolerance of political dissent within the Tamil
community which has not taken place for the last 20 years since every
dissenting Tamil has been eliminated, human rights abuse, development
and the issue of child soldiers.
The Government firmly believes that child soldiers have the right to
grow up as children and be entitled to their dreams.
Yesterday, the leader of the Government delegation Minister de Silva
met with Norwegian Special envoy Hanssen Bauer and Norwegian
International Development Minister Erik Solheim at his hotel.
The talks will take place today and tomorrow and the Government is
represented by Ministers de Silva, Ashraff, Jeyaraj Fernandopulle,
Rohitha Bogollagama, senior lawyers H.L. de Silva and Gomin Dayasiri and
Secretary General of the Peace Secretariat Dr. Kohona.