Foreign Minister asks US to push LTTE to talks

Foreign Minister Tyronne Fernando has urged the LTTE to set a date for talks and requested United States of America to help push the LTTE towards the peace negotiating table, according to wire service reports.

Fernando is on an official visit to the United States. Minister Fernando has met US President George W. Bush on Wednesday in Washington and later has had talks with the Secretary of State Colin Powell.

The Minister had noted during his talks with Powell that the international community should have a bigger stake in Sri Lanka to determine the success of talks.

‘The LTTE must name the date to begin talks and the progress depended much on this move by them,’ Fernando had pointed out.

The Colombo government has already taken several measures to pave the way for talks.

It has decided to lift the ban on the LTTE ten days prior to talks.

The LTTE has urged an interim administration in the North and East.

Minister Fernando has said, according to wire service reports that the government was prepared to make sweeping changes to the constitution to grant autonomy to the North and East.

He has stated that the people wanted peace and not war and anything could be conceded to achieve peace but short of a separate state.