Contribute positively to peace, Sri Lankan bishops tell rebels
Expressing dismay over a recent spate of killings, disappearances and kidnappings in their war-torn country, Sri Lanka's Catholic bishops say they are shocked at the deteriorating situation and are calling on the rebel Tamil Tigers "to contribute positively" to the peace process.
AsiaNews reports that a statement published by Sri Lanka's Catholic Bishops' Conference calls on parties to the conflict to take the suffering of the people into account and to work together for peace, the only path that will lead to the development and wellbeing of the country.
Signed by Bishop Vianney Fernando of Kandy Diocese and the Auxiliary Bishop of Colombo, Marius Peiris - President and the Secretary General of the conference - the statement called on the rebel Liberation Tigers (LTTE) to commit to overcoming the current stalemate and to desist from intransigence.
The recent killings of innocent civilians in various parts of the island "have left us in a deep sense of shock. In the north and the east, innocent civilians are often caught between the fighting factions of the LTTE and the Armed Forces".
The bishops said they were "deeply worried" about the daily deterioration of the situation and the misery gripping people living in rebel-controlled areas.
"Contrary to our expectations, the situation in the north and east has been steadily deteriorating, mainly due to a lack of basic essentials for people's sustenance, the continuously rising cost of living and displacement following the protracted armed conflict."
The statement said peace was "essential for the stability and development of the country. This can be reached only through justice to all and respect for truth. Instead of pushing the peace process forward, we are at a standstill with little hopes. Peace can be built only in being truthful and realistic."
The multi-party proposal for a compromise in the south of the country "could be the path towards a dignified political solution. We invite the Tigers to contribute positively to this."
"Further," the bishops added, "we wish to emphasise that the prevailing spirit of mistrust, hatred and violence continues to be detrimental to the wishes of our peace-loving citizens."
"Dismayed" bishops urge Tigers to contribute to peace process (AsiaNews, 1/2/07)
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2 Feb 2007