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Opening Of The A-Nine – A Road To Peace
A Statement by the Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera, Bishop of Colombo
CEYLON 061123-1
November 23, 2006

[The Church of Ceylon (E-P) - Ceylon] The Government’s decision to re-open the A-nine, even on a one-off limited basis has brought immense relief to all civic minded and peace loving Sri Lankans. The Jaffna and Killinochchi Districts have been deprived and isolated for too long. The priority arrangement to send food, other essentials and school requirements for children is appreciated and welcomed.

Consequently, I urge the LTTE to reciprocate by helping to facilitate this movement; and all other political parties, International Non-Governmental Organisations and civil society to collaborate in ensuring the smooth movement of these urgent requirements. It will be tragic if the initiative is bureaucratically delayed or politically jeopardised. We cannot however stop with this.

The steady supply of food and essentials to the people of this country regardless of where they live is indeed a humanitarian act; but it is much more. It is the intrinsic responsibility of the State. In a situation of political conflict and impasse such as ours, however, this is not possible without the goodwill and co-operation of the LTTE. Political agendas on either side that does not recognise and meet such peoples’ needs as the highest priority require review and change.

Consequently, the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE must recognise the potential in this initiative to strengthen trust, and work towards the permanent re-opening of the A-nine as envisaged in the Cease Fire Agreement.

This in turn will equip them both to urgently address the other outstanding issues of peace and justice for all.

With Peace and Blessings.

The Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera
Bishop of Colombo