Peace talk delays, diversionary tactic of SL Govt.- Wickremesinghe
[TamilNet, Monday, 11 October 2004, 00:33 GMT]
Charging that Sri Lanka Government's deliberate delaying of peace talks as a diversionary tactic, Leader of Sri Lanka Opposition and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, addressing a group of political and business leaders on the eve of an official trip to India Friday, warned that if the Sri Lanka Government does not genuinely make efforts to advance the peace process it will lose a valuable opportunity for resolving the ethnic conflict. He said further that unless negotiations are undertaken immediately the economy will be adversely affected.
Wickramesinghe said that the UNP elected not to participate in the discusssions centred around the National Advisory Council on Peace and Reconciliation (NACPR) as the UNP believed that the exercise will not work.
He added that once substantive talks are underway then an Advisory Council could be constituted and the UNP would then be in a position to participate as it thinks fit.
Wickramesinghe elaborated that his Party firmly stands for commencement of substantive peace talks and that he would clarify this position to the Indian leaders. He also pointed out that economic revival would become an uphill task if the peace talks continued to be stalemated.
Wickramesinghe revealed that he would meet with Indian leaders including President Abdul Kalaam, Premier Mann Mohan Singh, Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, Foreign Minister Natwar Singh, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha and Opposition leader M. Karunanithi and would brief them on the current Sri Lankan situation.
Meanwhile, Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister Vidar Helgessen, is due to arrive in New Delhi on Monday. Norwegian Mission in Colombo said that Helgessen will brief the Indian leaders on the steps that would have to be taken to move Sri Lankan peace negotiations forward. Norwegian Embassy sources further said that Helgessen will return to Norway from India, and is expected to visit Colombo before the end of this month.