During a recent visit to Sri Lanka, North West Tory MEP the Rt. Hon. Sir Robert Atkins, met Prime Minister, the Hon. Ranil Wickremasinghe, and was able to hear first hand about the peace negotiations with the Tamil Tigers which resulted in a ceasefire and subsequent structural negotiations.

"It was good of the Prime Minister to see me, particularly since he has only been in office after winning the General Election last December" commented Sir Robert, "and I was most impressed by his determination to resolve the long-standing terrorist conflict which has resulted in 65,000 deaths during the last 20 years. Having been a Northern Ireland Minister, I understand his objectives only too well and was able to reflect with him on the similarities between our two countries."

Sir Robert promised to persuade Commissioner Chris Patten (whose portfolio includes Development Aid) to visit Sri Lanka as soon as possible and undertook to draw the European Parliament's attention to the need to support Mr. Wickremasinghe's bid for peace and to do whatever possible to eradicate terrorism from this beautiful island, formerly known as Serendip and then Ceylon.

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