Lankan Buddhist monk party won't join peace council

Indo-Asian News Service, Nov 11, 2004

Colombo, Sri Lanka -- Sri Lanka's all-Buddhist monk party has said it would support and join the government's peace council only after the Tamil Tiger rebels accept the territorial integrity and legal framework of the country, Xinhua reports.

Leader of Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) or National Heritage Party Ellawela Medananda said on Monday that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) should also give up all ideas of re-commencing peace talks based on its proposals for an Interim Self-Governing Authority (ISGA), The Island newspaper said Tuesday.

He said that the LTTE should hand over all weapons in their possession, stop recruiting child soldiers and pledge to join the democratic mainstream.

JHU would not be a part of the National Advisory Council on Peace and Reconciliation (NACPR) if President Chandrika Kumaratunga decided to resume peace talks with the LTTE on the basis of the rebels' ISGA proposals, Medananda said.

Kumaratunga invited leaders of all political parties and religious and civil organisations to participate in the inaugural meeting of the NACPR on Monday but JHU along with several opposition parties including the main opposition United National Party boycotted the meeting.

Addressing the inaugural meeting, Kumaratunga said her government would do all that was required to persuade the LTTE to come back to the negotiating table, but not at any cost.