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Archive for January 5th, 2008

The Nordic countries regret the decision by the Government of Sri Lanka to withdraw from the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement

Posted by African Press International on January 5, 2008

Pressemelding

Nr.: 03/08

The Government of Sri Lanka has formally notified Norway of its decision of 2 January to terminate the Ceasefire Agreement with effect from 16 January 2008. As the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission derives its mandate from this agreement, the Sri Lankan Government expects the mission to cease its operations from the same date.

This decision comes at a time when the Government and LTTE are engaging in a high level of hostilities in a war-like situation with large-scale displacement of civilians and repeated violations of human rights. The Nordic countries are deeply concerned about the worsening situation in Sri Lanka, an overall development which now have reached the point where one party terminates the Agreement.

The Ceasefire Agreement was concluded between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in February 2002 and has lasted for almost six years. It served as the fundament for the peace process and for international efforts to assist Sri Lanka in its attempt to end its long history of conflict. At the request of the parties, the Nordic countries set up a civilian mission to monitor adherence to the ceasefire, both with regard to cessation of hostilities and restoration of normalcy.

The Ceasefire Agreement had a number of positive consequences. During the first three years, conflict-related casualties dropped to almost zero, which means that as many as 10 000 lives may have been spared. The agreement allowed for greater freedom of movement for all people in Sri Lanka, and opened for economic development. It also improved the human rights situation and the protection of civilians. However, violations of the Agreement have been particularly numerous and increasingly serious during the past two years.

The Nordic countries are worried that the violence and human suffering will now further escalate. The withdrawal of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission will mean the end of an important mechanism that protected civilians and gave a voice to the victims and their families.

The Nordic countries believe that only a political solution that addresses the grievances of all the ethnic groups in the country can provide a sustainable peace. The termination of the Ceasefire Agreement will only make it more difficult to find a way back to the negotiating table.

The Nordic countries are both grateful for and proud of the efforts and contributions made by the international and local monitors and staff of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission under very demanding circumstances.

Jonas Gahr Stre, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Norway
Ingibjrg Slrn Gsladttir, Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Iceland Per Stig Mller, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Denmark Carl Bildt, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sweden
Ilkka Kanerva, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Finland

Published by Korir, API/APN africanpress@chello.no source.Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway

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Ending violence is key to negotiations in Kenya

Posted by African Press International on January 5, 2008

In a meeting with Desmond Tutu in State House Nairobi, President Kibaki has set the conditions. He is willing to have dialogue with otherpolitical partieswhen violence has ceased.

He makes it clear that he will have dialogue with political parties, meaning all and not only ODM of Raila. This means that the president will meet ODM’s Raila and other Kenyan political parties and talk to them without having to single out one party being more important than the other. Kenya has many parties including PNU, ODM and ODM-K.

When dialogue starts, it will be interesting to see how the president will treat all the big parties in comparison to the smaller ones.

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Nation story:

Kibaki and Tutu back dialogue

Story by PPS
Publication Date: 1/4/2008

 

President Kibaki and South Africas Archbishop Desmond Tutu has called for an end to the post election violence in the country saying leaders from across the political divide must give dialogue a chance.

President Kibaki assured Archbishop Tutu that he was committed to political dialogue with members of other political parties.

At a meeting held at State House Nairobi Friday, the President Kibaki and Archbishop Tutu noted that there was urgent need to find a solution to the politically instigated violence. The two underlined the sanctity of human life noting that political protests must never be an excuse for killing innocent people.

They called on political leaders in the country to stop their supporters from engaging in violent acts, saying it was imperative that all Kenyans involve themselves in peace overtures so as to quickly restore sanity to the country.

President Kibaki reiterated that he was ready and willing to begin consultations and reach out to political party leaders to find solutions to contentious issues. He asked all leaders to cooperate, saying they must be seen to provide positive leadership at this challenging time in the history of the country.

President Kibaki said it was the responsibility of the Government to first secure the country and ensure peace in order to allow for structured dialogue. He once again condemned the acts of violence saying it was despicable for some leaders to incite their people to burn a church where children and women were seeking refuge.

Emphasising that sanity must prevail in the country, the President assured that the Government would give priority to any petitions that will be made in regard to the just concluded General Election.

President Kibaki at the same time asked political leaders to respect the countrys institutions, noting these institutions have been the pillars of the countrys progress and stability over the years.

The meeting was also attended by Anglican Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi and officials of the National Council of Churches of Kenya led by the General Secretary Canon Peter Karanja and Chairman Eliud Wabukala.

Lifted and published by Korir, API/APN africanpress@chello.no source.nation.ke

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