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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Dalai Lama hopes Sri Lanka truce will pave constructive direction

April 14, 2009

By Phurbu Thinley
April 13, 2009

Dharamsala, April 13 -- Welcoming the New Year
holiday truce declared in Sri Lanka with great
relief, exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the
Dalai Lama on Monday expressed hope that the move
would offer an opportunity for Sinhalese-Tamil
relations to further take a new and more constructive direction.

"It is with great relief that I welcome the truce
that has been declared in the Sri Lankan conflict
to mark the two-day Sinhala and Tamil New Year
holiday," the Dalai Lama said in a statement posted on his official website.

"I pray that this New Year truce may offer an
opportunity for Sinhalese-Tamil relations to take
a new, more constructive direction," His Holiness added.

The Sri Lankan government on Sunday ordered a
two-day "pause" in fighting. It coincides with
the ethnic Tamil and Sinhala New Year. The truce
which came into effect at midnight (1830 GMT
Sunday) is meant to allow civilians to leave the
conflict zone safely, BBC reported.

An estimated 100,000 ethnic Tamils are reportedly
trapped in the deadly and shrinking patch of land
in northeastern Sri Lanka, where the Liberation
Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), or Tamil Tigers,
have been for a separate independent homeland for ethnic Tamils for 25 years.

"I share the widespread international concern for
the welfare of civilians caught between the
warring parties and welcome the opportunity this
respite offers for them make their way to safety.
May they be able to do so," said the Dalai Lama.

"Both sides in this conflict, despite their
resort to the use of force, come from Buddhist
and Hindu communities respectively that have
ancient, deep-seated respect for the principle of
ahimsa or non-violence," His Holiness said.

"Now that they have reached a pause in their
fighting, I appeal to both sides to extend it and
build on it by reopening dialogue together," he added.

"In the long run, genuine dialogue is the only
way to resolve even the most intransigent
conflicts," the 73-year old Tibetan leader, who
was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 1989 for his
efforts to achieve a non-violent solution to the
Tibetan problem through dialogue with China, said.

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