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. 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.
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. 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. In the long run, genuine dialogue is the only way to resolve even the most intransigent conflicts. I pray that this New Year truce may offer an opportunity for Sinhalese-Tamil relations to take a new, more constructive direction.
The Dalai Lama
April 13, 2009