Catholic Bishops welcome govt.-LTTE MoU

The Catholic Bishops Conference of Sri Lanka welcoming the MoU between the Government and the LTTE said that they "support its honest and sincere implementation".

A statement from the conference said:

The Memorandum of Understanding, resulting in the present ceasefire, signed between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE could be commended as a very propitious and progressive step towards a final settlement of the ethnic crisis in the country.

The ethnic war in this country has now been raging for a period of nearly twenty years. Several efforts have been made to find a solution but without an iota of success.

The military effort has only proved disastrous both in terms of human life and money, and caused widespread misery especially among the poorest of both communities. The destruction of the moral order and the economy have been its most disastrous side effects. Today we are left with an impoverished nation economically, morally and socially.

In the circumstances no one who loves the nation could fail to appreciate the significance of the bold step taken by the leadership; and remembering that this is only a first, yet meaningful step towards a final solution, support its honest and sincere implementation.

We must confess to a sense of profound disappointment with certain sections of our political leadership trying to create mischief sowing the seeds of distrust not only among the ethnic groups but also among the religious communities in the island. We refer in particular to the utterances over the media of a political leader, the head of a party avowedly racial, to implicate the Christian community as spearheading a peace negotiation that, he alleges, is anti-national. His effort to conclude that the whole mediation effort is a ploy of the world’s Christian community is nothing more than a figment of a warped imagination. The allegation that the Scandinavian countries are largely Christian and are therefore in tow with the Church is baseless and lacks logic.

Illogical baseless and provocative statements of this nature coming from irresponsible persons in the past have brought this nation to its present plight. We have witnessed enough of this. It is time for all persons of goodwill irrespective of race, creed or caste, to join in the common effort to save the nation not only from terrorism but also from the lunacy of extremism. It would do well for us to remember that this may be the last chance to arrive at a negotiated political settlement.

We know that the leaders of both parties in power have pledged to find a political solution to the crisis. Whatever be their respective roles in government, they should not betray the confidence of the people that reposed their trust in them. With cautious determination they should forge ahead and see that the people’s expectations are realised.

We sincerely hope and pray that this step in the right direction will finally reach its goal ushering in the long awaited era of peace for all peoples in this country.