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IP/03/793

Brussels, 03 June 2003

European Commission to support peace process in Sri Lanka

The European Commission has adopted a €3.27 million decision under its Rapid Reaction Mechanism¹ in support of the peace process in Sri Lanka. The programme includes support for the monitoring of the Cease Fire Agreement, rehabilitation of electricity lines to improve movement of people between the former conflict zones, support for the Peace Secretariat and the North East Reconstruction Fund. This additional Community funding is intended to support the Cease Fire Agreement of 22 February 2002, and to give a clear signal of the EU's and the Commission's continuing commitment to the Peace Process. The Commission's decision comes as one of the parties has decided temporarily to suspend formal negotiations.

The new allocation to the Sri Lankan peace process, follows an assessment mission conducted by the Commission Services in January 2003. Part of this support will be provided through a € 3.27 million programme under the Rapid Reaction Mechanism, further support will be announced at the forthcoming Donor's Conference on Re-construction and Development to be held in Tokyo on June 9-10.

The programme consists of the following measures:

  • Support for the monitoring of the Cease Fire Agreement by financing additional monitors allowing the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission to expand its activities.

  • The rehabilitation of electricity lines at the northern checkpoints on the Kandy-Jaffna road (Vilakkuvaithakulam and Puliyankulam Check-points & Extension of electricity from Kodikamam to Pallai) in order to improve the movement of people between the former conflict zones by allowing the checkpoints to be operational 24 hours a day.

  • A financial contribution to the Peace Secretariat in order to facilitate the dissemination of information concerning developments related to the peace process to key stakeholders and the population.

  • A contribution of € 2,35 million to the North East Reconstruction Fund. The Commission will release these funds when the formal negotiations between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE have been resumed.

    The contracts under this programme will be signed in the coming days. Implementation of the planned activities will start shortly afterwards.

    In parallel, the Commission has mobilised € 17,5 million under the Development co-operation, Humanitarian Assistance (ECHO), De-mining and Aid to uprooted people budget lines. Furthermore, the European Commission will make an announcement on further assistance to the Peace Process at the Tokyo Conference on 9 and 10 June 2003. In this respect the Commission urges the LTTE to continue to participate fully in the talks and to commit itself to attending the Tokyo reconstruction conference.

    Background

    After an earlier assessment mission in May 2002, the European Commission financed a programme to implement key provisions of the Cease Fire Agreement and to build confidence in the peace process. This programme of € 1.8 million,² focused on highly visible actions such as the reconstruction of 55 schools in the Jaffna peninsula, support to the Communications Team of the Peace Secretariat and the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka as well as the electrification of the Omanthi and Puliyankulam Checkpoints, demonstrates the importance the European Commission attaches to the political initiatives undertaken. This programme was followed by a second assessment mission of the Commission in January 2003 to identify further key areas for support to the Peace Process. The findings of this mission have resulted in the above programme.

    Further information on EC-relations with Sri Lanka can be found at

    http://ec.europa.eu/external_relations/sri_lanka/intro/index.htm

    http://ec.europa.eu/external_relations/cpcm/doc.htm

      ¹ IP/01/255  of 26 February 2001: Council adopts Rapid Reaction Mechanism Commission now in position to intervene fast in civilian crisis management.

    ² IP/02/1300  of 13 September 2002 : European Commission to support peace talks in Sri Lanka


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