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A Call to Stop Fighting and Begin Talks
 
CEYLON 070228-1
February 28, 2007

A statement by the Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera, Bishop of Colombo

[The Church of Ceylon (E-P) - Ceylon] The failed LTTE attack on the helicopter carrying the Minister of Human Rights and Disaster Management, Hon Mahinda Samarasinghe and some Ambassadors, was utterly senseless and must be condemned for its provocative nature. It would have led to very serious diplomatic repercussions had it been fatal.

Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe and the Ambassadors were on a humanitarian mission to hear and respond to the hardships the people of the East are facing. A similar recent visit to Jaffna by the Minister enabled a dialogue with Civil Society leaders and has already begun to bring some relief. The LTTE could not have been unaware of this mission; and should have welcomed it, even though they were not informed of this visit which comprised of Ambassadors.

Such incidents convey a strong message to the country. They absolutely re-affirm the urgency for both the LTTE and the GoSL to rise above the destructive option of death and intimidation and to return immediately to negotiations to resolve our tragic crisis. The massive amount of energy and resources that go into destructive strategies can and must be redirected for the common good.

A solution within a United and Sovereign Sri Lanka with dignity and justice for the Tamil people, and indeed all communities is possible if only the LTTE and GoSL will make a concerted shift from their present confrontational policies. To refuse to hear the desperate cries of the people is a crime against Sri Lanka's humanity and a demonstration of failed leadership.

I join the many voices both locally and internationally, and earnestly appeal to the two parties to stop the violence and return to negotiations for Peace.