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CFA abolition no bar to talks

The Government’s decision to abrogate the Ceasefire Agreement was based on a policy decision and the doors are yet wide open for a peaceful and negotiated political solution to the ethnic conflict, Cabinet Spokesman and Media and Information Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said yesterday.

Addressing the maiden Cabinet news briefing for the New Year at the Government Information Department Auditorium in Narahenpita, Minister Yapa said the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) signed between former Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe and Vellupillai Prabhakaran in 2002, will be abrogated based on a Cabinet memorandum submitted by Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayaka at the Cabinet meeting last Wednesday night.

“The LTTE had consistently and blatantly flouted and violated the said CFA by well over 10,000 occasions, and rendered it absolutely ineffective and futile for further adherence or any practical purpose,” the Minister said.

“Nonetheless, this measure taken by the Government does not in any way rule out a negotiated and peaceful solution to the ethnic crisis. We will seriously and anxiously pursue a peaceful end to the issue in terms of the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) proposals which are due in February.

If the conditions are right, we can resume talks with anyone. However, due to the CFA now being defunct, we are abrogating it,” Minister Yapa categorically stated.

He pointed out that under the present circumstances, the Government was of the view that talking with the LTTE was futile and in vain, and if the scenario changes for the better and the LTTE was prepared to lay down their arms and start talks with the Government, then the Government could respond accordingly.

The agreement relating to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) too would become ineffective in the process and the Prime Minister and the Foreign Ministry will be entrusted to work out the legal framework and the formalities by which the SLMM and the Norwegian Facilitators would be notified accordingly, pertaining to the Government’s decision to withdraw from the CFA. A detailed statement from the Foreign Ministry would follow.

Responding to queries from journalists, Yapa said the Cabinet had not yet decided to ban the LTTE.

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