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Lanka's northeast welcomes agreement in Geneva talks to end violence

Written by: Staff

Colombo, Feb 24 (UNI) People in the war-ravaged north-east of Sri Lanka today welcomed the outcome of the two-day negotiations between the government and the Tamil Tiger rebels for agreeing to end violence that questioned the very existence of the four-year long shaky ceasefire agreement.

The government and LTTE renewed a four-year ceasefire agreement in Geneva after two-days of talks yesterday and agreed to meet again in April to discuss a more lasting peace so that the country did not return to civil war.

''The top-level delegations of both the government and the LTTE went to Geneva to decide the future--whether it is war or peace. For the people who are living in fear of war with the increase in violence, it is certainly a sigh of relief. The fear of war may not have been cleared completely, but they are happy that it has been suspended at least for a couple of months,'' Jaffna-based senior journalist N Kumaradas told UNI over phone.

''We are very happy that the parties have agreed to take steps to stop violence immediately. We fervently hope that they will now adhere to the agreement reached in Geneva to its true spirit,'' Mr P Ravindramoorthy, a government servant in the restive Eastern Batticaloa district said.

While hailing President Mahinda Rajapakse for reaching an agreement with the LTTE amid various pressure and protests from his hardline coalition partners, he said people on hearing the positive outcome in Geneva held a special service mass this morning at the Zion Church, Central Road, Batticaloa to express their gratitude to God.

Jaffna University Vice-Chancellor Prof. S. Mohanadas described it as ''a very positive and the best outcome considering the one agenda and two intransigence positions'' of the two sides at the negotiating table in Geneva with regard to the truce.

''After hard deliberations, the parties have shown their flexibility and come to a common ground. Both parties are in a win-win situation, which reflects on the entire Sri Lanka and not just the North-East,'' the Vice-Chancellor said, however, adding that one has to wait and see whether parties honour the agreement reached in Geneva.

He said he has held a meeting with the University Students' leaders this morning on the re-opening of the university, which remained closed due to sporadic truce related violence in the past few months.

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