Sri Lanka: Buddhist monks to stage mega rally today

By Sassanka Samarakkody, Gulf Times, March 21, 2006

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- Thousands of Buddhist monks will stage a rally in Colombo today demanding the immediate withdrawal of Norway as facilitator to the peace process between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

?Norwegian involvement in the guise of a facilitator has been proven detrimental and dangerous to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our motherland. The last ten years are full of examples of their partiality towards the LTTE. This must be put to an end right now,? president of the National Bhikku Front (NBF), Ven Dambara Amila thera told a press conference in Colombo.

?The Maha Sangha (Buddhist clergy) has lost the trust in this so-called facilitator, who crossed the line of an assistant to peace negotiation to an aide of one party in the dispute. We demand that the Norwegians, assisting the LTTE to attain their goal of dividing the motherland, to be banished immediately.? he said.

He added: ?Norwegian involvement to solve problems in other parts of the world always had resulted in dividing sovereign nations into parts. Here in Sri Lanka, they are not doing anything different but assisting the division of the country,? Ven Amila thera, who once staged a fast unto death campaign to defeat the controversial P-TOMS agreement with the LTTE during former President Kumaratunga?s regime, told the press.