"Talks on ISGA should start first"- UPFA Minister

[TamilNet, Saturday, 25 December 2004, 00:04 GMT]
"Peace talks based on the Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA) proposals should start first and both sides should try to resolve their differences across the negotiating table," said Mr.D.E.W.Gunasekara, Constitutional Affairs and National Integration Minister in the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government addressing a meeting held at Kandy D S Senanayake Library Auditorium Thursday to commemorate the 100th birth anniversary of the late Dr. N.M. Perera, leader of the Lanka Sama Samaja party (LSSP).

Minister Mr. Gunasekera is the secretary of the Communist Party of Sri Lanka and has been a member of several trade unions.

LSSP stalwart Mr. Lal Wijenaike, Attorney at Law, chaired the meeting, which was jointly sponsored by the District Committees of the LSSP and the Community Party of Sri Lanka (CPSL).

"Minister Prof. Tissa Vitharana and I are advocating speedy revival of the stalled negotiations. As Ministers of the present UPFA Government both of us independently maintain that according to the policies of our parties, a solution to the national question should be reached through negotiations," said Mr.Gunasekara.

"We defend the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) although we accept that there are flaws in CFA," said Mr.Gunasekara.

Mr.Gunasekara said, "Tigers have asserted that an ISGA is a must especially for the rehabilitation of the people displaced by the horrendous war. Whether what they demand should be accepted in totality or not is a matter that should be resolved across the table. Government can present its proposals. These are not final, and each side would not be obliged to accept every single proposalof the other. And we do believe that all contradictions that surface could be sorted out across the table," said Mr.Gunasekara.

"We who opposed the Sinhala Only Act then predicted that it would bring about a disaster to the country. Now, even though it is 17 years since Tamil was also made an official language nothing has changed. Non-implementation of the Tamil provisions has given rise to suspicion, and that is part of the reason for the present deadlock in the peace process," said Mr.Gunasekara who was functioning as the Chairman of the Official languages Department till he was appointed Minister.

 

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