Talks should start immediately- UNP

[TamilNet, Monday, 18 October 2004, 18:27 GMT]
Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, former Minister and UNP spokesman said during a Media Conference held at the Opposition Leader's Office Sunday, that there is no need for any counter-proposals to the LTTE's Interim Self-Govering Authority (ISGA) proposals to start discussions with the LTTE, sources said.

Dr Senaratne also charged the Sri Lanka Government with employing delaying tactics.

Senaratne then warned that unless talks based on the ISGA proposals start immediately Sri Lanka would face serious crisis. He further said that Ms Kumaratunge has not thought about the next step as she is only reacting to placate JVP and other chauvinist forces.

''When the LTTE first demanded an Interim Administration for the North and East, it was the Govt. of Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe that submitted peace proposals to the LTTE. Having considered these, the LTTE submitted its own proposals. When talks were about to start, Sri Lanka's President sacked three Ministries, dissolved the Parliament and ordered fresh elections. During the election campaign, the President pledged to commence talks soon, if returned to power.

''Six months have elapsed since the Govt. came into power and it is only engaged in placing obstacles to block commencement of talks. Earlier, when the Govt. indicated that it would present its alternative proposals, the LTTE had categorically stated that they wouldn't entertain any such proposals, and the Govt. maintained silence.

''Now, Sri Lanka's economy is in serious decline. Donor countries and Agencies have made it clear that release of funds could be considered only if peace talks commenced. The National Advisory Council on Peace and Reconciliation (NACPR) was set up recently by the President in order to hoodwink the international community. The Opposition parties have rejected it,'' Dr.Senaratne said.

He said that no sooner than the Cabinet spokesman stated that the Govt.'s counter-proposals are ready, the LTTE has totally rejected the proposals. Instead of presenting proposals repeatedly, the Government should get on with the talks and state its positions while talks are in progress, he added.

''We reiterate that the UNP is prepared to extend its full support to commence talks. This is not the time for intransigence and rhetoric; the situation has deteriorated. People have to live in peace and harmony and so there should be proper governance. The atmosphere is now conducive to start start talks without delay. India as well as the international community have continued to stress the necessity to commence talks. The UNP expects the President to take the correct decision for the greater good of the country's future,'' Dr. Senaratne said.


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