|Wednesday, 25 February 2004|
|Security||Today's Top Story|
British Foreign Office Minister Mike O'Brien has cautioned Sri Lanka's political parties in the election fray to tone down their polls rhetoric lest they lead to undermining the gains made in the peace process.
"We call on political parties in Sri Lanka and to the LTTE to commit themselves to supporting the early resumption of peace negotiations after the elections", the Minister said after a meeting with Vidar Helgesen, State Secretary of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in London on Monday which marked the second anniversary of the Ceasefire Agreement.
O'Brien said that the April 2 election had come at a crucial time for Sri Lanka's peace process and that a permanent solution to the status of the North-East was vital for Sri Lanka's long term stability and prosperity.
"The peace process is a legitimate issue for Sri Lanka's political parties to have different views on.
But we urge their leaders to ensure that their, and their supporters' actions and rhetoric during the election campaign do nothing to undermine the important gains that have been made in the peace process or to make it more difficult to resume peace talks after the election." he said The statement states: "It is essential that, throughout Sri Lanka, these elections are free of intimidation fair and non-violent.
It is also essential that the media is allowed to play a responsible and independent role in the democratic process.
The UK remains fully committed politically and practically to supporting Sri Lanka's rehabilitation and development.
The UK and the rest of the international community recognise that there will be an ongoing requirement to provide humanitarian relief to those areas of Sri Lanka with urgent needs.
It also stands ready to provide longer term development assistance as long as there is continued progress in the peace process.
We call on the political parties in Sri Lanka and on the LTTE to commit themselves to supporting the early resumption of peace negotiations after the elections so that they can move forward together in building a peaceful and prosperous country".
Produced by Lake House