2nd lead (add photos, details and correction):

SLFP-JVP alliance signed in Colombo

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 20 January 2004, 05:10 GMT]
The Sri Lanka Freedom Party and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna signed an agreement to form a new political alliance called 'United People's Freedom Alliance' at 10.40 a.m Tuesday in Colombo. Speaking after the signing ceremony, JVP Gen. Sec. Mr. Tilvin Silva said that the JVP had formed the alliance to prevent the plan to divide the country. The JVP and the SLFP say that the peace process and the ceasefire agreement between the Liberation Tigers and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s are part of a western backed conspiracy to divide Sri Lanka.

SLFP-JVP alliance
SLFP gen.secy. Mr. Maithripala Sirisena (right) and JVP gen.secy. Mr. Tilvin Silva signing the agreement Tuesday

He said that Sri Lanka great 2500-year-old civilisation has been ruined by Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’s government which has reduced the country to begging. He said the alliance would rid Sri Lanka of evil foreign influences and stop outsiders from plundering the country’s wealth.

The agreement was signed at the Banadaranaike memorial International Hall in Colombo by SLFP General Secretary, Mr. Maithripala Sirisena and JVP Gen. Secy. Mr. Tilvin de Silva at the exact time determined as auspicious by astrologers.

The ceremony was blessed by the Buddhist clergy and then by Hindu and Muslim priests. The Christian clergy was conspicuous by its absence. (Many Christians see the UPFA as the coming together of Sinhala Buddhist forces that might further instigate the current violence against them)

Opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksha, President’s brother Anura Bandaranaike, former PA Prime Minister Mr. Ratnasiri Wickremanayaka, Mr. Lakshman Kadirgamar, Mr. Douglas Devananda, Ms. Ferial Ashraff and a large number of opposition politicians and supporters were present at the signing.

SLFP-JVP alliance
Mr. Sirisena and Mr. Silva exchanging the signed copies of the MOU.


R-L Opposition leader Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksha, former Prime Minister, Mr. Ratnasiri Wickremanayaka and former lands minister Mr. D. M Jayaratna applauding the signing

The Alliance song composed by Mr. Kumaradasa Saputantri was sung before the signing.

The main part of the agreement was read out in Sinhala after the signing and exchange of documents.

Thereafter Mr. Maithripala Sirisena spoke on the historical and political background of the agreement. Mr. Tilvin Silva spoke after him.

 

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