SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES OPENING OF DIRECT
NEW YORK, 16 September (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:
The Secretary-General warmly welcomes the opening of direct talks between the Government of Sri Lanka and the "Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam" (LTTE) today in Thailand. He is pleased that the two sides have successfully implemented the provisions of their ceasefire signed last February and are now entering substantive peace negotiations. The Secretary-General hopes that these talks will lead to a political settlement of the internal conflict in Sri Lanka, which will preserve the country’s unity and integrity, as well as take into account the needs and interests of all its communities.
The Secretary-General pays tribute to the facilitation role played by the Government of Norway. At the same time, he looks forward to enhancing the United Nations role in support of the peace process, especially regarding peace-building activities.
* *** *