|Firm foundation needed for peace talks - Premier
Speaking to the local and foreign media for the first time after his return from a three - day official visit to India at the Information Department, Wickremesinghe said that his first task would be to sort out the humanitarian issues concerning the northern people since failure to do so was one of the main reasons for talks between the former government and LTTE having failed.
"Once the humanitarian issues are sorted out we could then proceed to build a firm foundation that could withstand any obstacles talks of this nature may encounter".
Wickremesinghe said he does not want to create an unwanted euphoria that would give people the impression that everything is on course to resolve the North-East conflict.
"I would like to be optimistic and hope that the North-East conflict could be resolved within a short period of the Norwegian facilitated peace talks commencing in the new year, but it is our experience that things do not always work out that way. There could be, say a violation of the ceasefire leading to a breakdown in talks. But if a firm foundation is established then the peace process would be able to survive any obstacle".
Wickremesinghe declined to set a date for direct negotiations between the government and the LTTE to commence saying that it was too early but he did not rule out a date after March 15 if things go according to schedule.
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