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New Zealand support for Sri Lanka peace process

Rt Hon Winston Peters - Minister of Foreign Affairs

22 February 2006

Peters expresses New Zealand support for Sri Lanka peace process

New Zealand has offered Sri Lanka its support for ongoing peace talks due to start in Geneva.

Foreign Minister Winston Peters told a visiting parliamentary delegation from Sri Lanka today that no one would benefit from a return to violence.

“I have urged the members of all the political parties to use their influence and grasp this opportunity to seek a peaceful and stable future for Sri Lanka,” said Mr Peters.

“New Zealand will continue to support all efforts aimed at resolving the outstanding challenges facing Sri Lanka.’’

Talks will be held between the Sri Lanka Government and LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) in Switzerland on 22-23 February, the fourth anniversary of the ceasefire agreement between the two parties.

Mr Peters was speaking to a 20 member parliamentary delegation visiting New Zealand, Malaysia and Australia as part of a World Bank funded study tour.

While here the delegation will view New Zealand’s experiences in parliamentary oversight, accountability, state sector reform and agricultural production.

The group will also meet Prime Minister Helen Clark, Trade Minister Phil Goff, members of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee and the Office of the Ombudsmen.

Additionally, they will visit Fonterra facilities in the Waikato. Sri Lanka is New Zealand's fifth largest market for milk powders with trade worth $160 million dollars for the year ending June 2005.

Mr Peters also discussed tsunami reconstruction with the delegation and wished Sri Lanka well with recovery efforts. New Zealand contributed $10 million in aid for rebuilding after the 2004 disaster.


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