The visiting Norwegian delegation lead by the International Development Minister and special envoy of the government of Norway to the Sri Lanka peace process Erick Solheim met the SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem at his residence today.
Killing of Muslims in North and East, strengthening of the Ceasefire Agreement and the Muslims' status in the peace process were given priority during the discussion.
Speaking to lankmuslims.com Rauff Hakeem said "We have impressed upon Mr. Solheim, the issue pertaining the participation of Muslims in whatever, stages of the peace talks if at all it resumes".
"Particularly we brought to his notice the comments made by the President yesterday to some of the Tamil papers where he has referred to the Muslim participation as something that is not wanted at this time" he said.
"He has also specifically asked the Muslims either to get together with the LTTE or with the government and enter the peace process. This is something that we have condemned and we asked the Norwegian facilitators to bear in mind that assurances have been given to Muslims by both parties throughout and now particularly for the president to make statement of this nature would result in the Muslims losing confidence in the peace process all together" Hakeem added..
"This is something must be borne in mind and if the confidence is to be restored and for us to support the process continuously the president should see that basic rights of the Muslims should be honoured when peace talks resume", he insisted.
The SLMC leader has also conveyed his party's concerns regarding the hostilities that have broken out both in the North and East and many other parts of the country, particularly some attacks of the Muslims which are not yet been properly investigated. "In this regard if the war resumes there is serious responsibility cast on both the government and the LTTE to see that unarmed civilians and those parties which are not involved in direct hostilities between these parties should be afforded maximum protection" Hakeem added.
During the meeting Hakeem has urged the Norway government to continue pursuing the peace facilitation even if parties were to resume hostilities. "We found Mr. Erick Solheim is quite aware of such a possibility and he has assured us that it is the intention of Norway as long as the parties wish for them to remain in the process even if hostilities break out that they will continue to engage in the process as facilitators" he said.
On the question of concerns expressed by the Muslim community on the representation, Mr. Soiheim told media that "Mr. Rauff Hakeem brought up the issue of Muslim representation in the future peace talks. This has to be decided by the government and the LTTE and not by Norway as facilitators".
Source: Sri Lanka MuslimsLast Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16