Short Term Gains Should Not Endanger Long Term Stability

25.02.09 National Peace Council of Sri Lanka

The LTTE has issued an appeal to the international community to support a ceasefire that will safeguard lives and create an environment for political negotiations with the Sri Lankan government. This call has come even as the Sri Lankan government is on the threshold of capturing the last remaining LTTE territory. The government has rejected the appeal for a ceasefire unless it is accompanied by unconditional surrender by the LTTE. In the meantime military engagements continue in the Vanni, whilst outside, guerillas have staged insurgent attacks. These attacks have included the deliberate targeting of civilians, which the National Peace Council categorically condemns.

From a humanitarian perspective, a ceasefire that saves lives is always preferred to continued warfare and the bitter human suffering it generates. The current phase of the war in particular has inflicted enormous suffering on tens of thousands of civilians who continue to be trapped in the shrinking pocket of LTTE controlled territory. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has requested a suspension of fighting to permit the civilians to have safe passage to flee the conflict. This appeal has also been made by the EU and other countries. The National Peace Council supports a ceasefire that has the express purpose of evacuating civilians from the war zones to welfare centres that operate in accordance with international standards.

We further believe that if the ceasefire is to be further extended to include political negotiations aimed at a political solution, the LTTE needs to agree to the laying down of arms. To ensure an atmosphere of trust, the process of disarmament could be monitored by international organizations, with the concurrence of the Sri Lankan government.  The National Peace Council believes that a ceasefire that is accompanied by the evacuation of civilians, should be followed by both an agreement to work towards a political solution and the laying down of weapons. Such a process offers the best opportunity for Sri Lankans of all communities to enjoy a future of peace, justice and reconciliation with the support of the international community. Sustainable peace requires the cooperative involvement of all parties, working together for a better future.

Governing Council

The National Peace Council is an independent and non partisan organisation that works towards a negotiated political solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. It has a vision of a peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka in which the freedom, human rights and democratic rights of all the communities are respected. The policy of the National Peace Council is determined by its Governing Council of 20 members who are drawn from diverse walks of life and belong to all the main ethnic and religious communities in the country.


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