J-Biz pleads to Mahinda to start talks
The Joint Business Forum (J-Biz) last week urged President Mahinda Rajapakse to make the first move pertaining to the resumption of peace talks with the LTTE and fix a date for negotiations as time was running out.

In a letter to the President, which was released to the media, J-Biz chairman Nimal Perera – while extending the group’s full cooperation to the government in this process – said it was incumbent on the “governing body of the country to make the first move. ”

Accordingly, we urge the government to make optimum use of mediators and immediately fix a date to initiate discussions and make it happen in wherever it be, before it is too late. This is the only way international pressure could be brought on responsible parties,” he said.

Excerpts of the letter: “Escalating violence and brutal killings and rising tension in the north and east are serious matters for concern not only for the Business Community but for the entire nation as a whole.

We have not forgotten the suffering the citizen of the country had to go through, the battering the economy got and more over the loss of human lives and property during the 20-year period of war. It is the responsibility of the business community to make representations to the government whenever there is a major issue, which has a bearing on the National economy and the people of the country.

Everyone in this country yearns for peace. Everyone accepts the fact that there should be a negotiated settlement to the conflict. The government has publicly announced that they are also committed to a negotiated settlement but regret to note that a minor issue such as the venue has rendered the peace talks a non-starter.

Initiating peace talks after a major disaster would be of no use. Many may have differences of opinion with regard to the venue but this should not be an issue if the government genuinely and positively wants to go for a negotiated settlement.”

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