Dalai Lama welcomes two-day truce in Sri Lanka

April 13th, 2009 - 5:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Dharamsala, April 13 (IANS) The spiritual head of the Tibetan community, the Dalai Lama, Monday welcomed the Sri Lankan government’s decision for a two-day pause in the operations against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) during the Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebrations.
“It is with great relief that I welcome the truce that has been declared in the Sri Lankan conflict to mark the two-day Sinhala and Tamil New Year holiday,” the Nobel peace laureate said in a statement posted on his official website.

“I pray that this New Year truce may offer an opportunity for Sinhalese-Tamil relations to take a new, more constructive direction,” the spiritual guru said.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa Sunday directed the armed forces to restrict their operations for two days during the New Year to enable thousands of trapped civilians to move to the safer places.

“I share the widespread international concern for the welfare of civilians caught between the warring parties and welcome the opportunity this respite offers for them to make their way to safety. May they be able to do so,” the 73-year-old leader said.

“Both sides in this conflict, despite their resort to the use of force, come from Buddhist and Hindu communities respectively that have ancient, deep-seated respect for the principle of ahimsa or non-violence,” the Dalai Lama noted.

“Now that they have reached a pause in their fighting, I appeal to both sides to extend it and build on it by reopening dialogue together.”

“In the long run, genuine dialogue is the only way to resolve even the most intransigent conflicts,” the Buddhist monk said.

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