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McGuinness welcomes resumption of Sri Lankan dialogue

25 January, 2006

Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness has welcomed the news that peace talks are to begin shortly in Switzerland between the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan government. Mr McGuinness met with both groups last week while visiting the country.

Mr McGuinness said:

"The peace process in Sri Lanka had become stalled on a number of issues. Amongst these was the venue for future peace negotiations. While meeting with all groups last week I impressed upon them the need for inclusive dialogue regardless of the venue it took place in.

"I warmly welcome the confirmation that dialogue is set to resume in Switzerland in early February, initially on the status of the respective ceasefires, and it is my hope that substantive progress can be made during these negotiations.

"The people of Sri Lanka have suffered greatly during the course of the conflict there with 60,000 people losing their lives in the past 20 years. The wider international community has an obligation to assist the people of Sri Lanka as they seek to bed down the ceasefires and build towards a new peaceful future." ENDS

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