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CCC on need for urgent progress in the New Year

The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) has called upon the government to take urgent action, to secure national consensus on the devolution proposals that were developed as the first step to solve the North East conflict.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his address to the All party Representative Committee (APRC) and the Panel of Experts (PE) in July 2006 also stressed the importance of speedy and effective progress that offers immediate relief to the individuals affected on the basis that people cannot be kept waiting in fear of an uncertain future.

The CCC also called upon the APRC to give serious consideration to the recommendations made by the PE, which are consistent with the principles enunciated by the government on devolution. The CCC believes that the recommendations of the different groups can be synthesised to arrive at a common position which meets the aspirations of the minority communities in the country.

The concerns expressed in certain quarters, that any form of accommodation on devolution will be a 'stepping stone' to separation, can be addressed by the specific safeguards contained in the recommendations of the PE. Negotiations can be conditional upon a commitment to non-violence and the acceptance of democratic principles by those entering the process of negotiations.

There are examples of such successful conflict resolution initiatives through the acceptance of principles of democracy and non-violence in countries such as South Africa, Northern Ireland, Indonesia and more recently Nepal.

It is through this process that the President's desire, as expressed in the same address, to establish democratic values, political pluralism and tolerance of dissent within the shortest possible time throughout the country can be achieved.

 

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