|Wednesday, 26 February 2003|
President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga yesterday reiterated that Sri Lanka has no option other than continuing the ongoing negotiating process with the LTTE, since the country cannot afford to go back to war.
"This, no doubt, is a difficult process. But we have to march on that path. We all believe that the war is not the solution to the conflict in Sri Lanka," said President Kumaratunga addressing a packed press conference last evening, at the Putra World Trade Centre where the 13th Non-Aligned Movement meeting was held.
"The LTTE is engaged in child conscription, extortion, establishment of training camps and abduction of children even after signing the MoU. But we have to continue the process in a careful manner," the President said.
Asked about the progress of the peace process, she told reporters that though there are pluses and minuses of the process, her government was determined to move ahead with the process.
"I am happy that even the political elements which are opposed to the policies of my political party have accepted the fact that there is no military solution to the conflict. They are now engaged in the process and I am happy with the development of the process which I started several years ago. We have been able to convince all sectors of the society on the need for a negotiated settlement," she said.
Asked whether she would derail the peace process of the government, President Kumaratunga said that this is her government and she is four fifth of it.
"Of course there are lapses. But we must go ahead. I am advising the Prime Minister on this difficult process, and some times I correct them. The process must continue," she stressed.
The President said that the root causes of the menace of terrorism must be addressed in a comprehensive manner if we are to eliminate the `plague of terrorism' from our societies.
"The issues of some terrorist movements need to be studied and the root causes need to be addressed urgently. That what exactly we are doing in Sri Lanka today," she added.
Commenting about the situation in Iraq she said that Sri Lanka is opposed to any unilateral act by any single State isolating the role of the United Nations. "The NAM must strengthen the UN," the President added.
During her three-day stay in Kuala Lumpur, President Kumaratunga held bilateral talks with leaders from India, Pakistan, Cuba, Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Maldives.
Produced by Lake House