2nd Lead (Adds details)

Rajapakse rejects self-determination, slams foreign intervention

[TamilNet, Sunday, 16 October 2005, 01:38 GMT]
In his much-anticipated Presidential election manifesto Mahinda Rajapakse said he would hold talks with the Liberation Tigers on “ending separatism, disarming and [their] entering the democratic process.” In his manifesto, details of which were published in the Sunday Times this week, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) candidate said he hoped that in forging a solution to the ‘crisis in the north and east’ to follow “the theme of undivided country, consensus of the majority and peace with dignity.”

Rajapakse and Wickramsinghe"My prime objective is to have a peaceful political solution empowering all communities, without being tied up in the concept of the traditional homeland, self determination etc,” he said.

While seeking out a consensus by talking to “all democratic parties, … parties which are not represented in Parliament, … the Buddhist clergy, other religious dignitaries and sectors [and] members of the civil society,” he proposed parallel talks with the LTTE.

He said the consensus stemming from his discussions “[which] I will complete within three months” would be put to a referendum.

“I will give the LTTE a specific time frame and a specific agenda,” Rajapakse also said. I will have an open agenda on the following; Ending separatism, Disarming, Entering the democratic process [and] Final solution and its implementation.”

“If the majority accepts it, I will immediately implement it,” he said. “[Then this] national consensus reached will be openly put forward to the LTTE.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Rajapakse flatly rejected President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s aid sharing deal with the LTTE.

“The P-TOMS will not be implemented,” he said, referring to the Post-Tsunami Operations Management Structure (P-TOMS). Instead, he proposed a “a new programme known as 'Jaya Lanka' to rebuild the north and east with representatives of people from these areas and people's organizations.”

He attacked his arch rival, Ranil Wickremesinge of the United National Party (UNP) for “weakening” Sri Lanka’s security forces by signing a ceasefire with the LTTE.

“Mainly due to the UNP's action to enter into a Ceasefire agreement without farsightedness there has been several problems created,” he also said. “The agreement had been reached without the consensus of the people of the country. Attempts were made to forcibly put this agreement on the public, but the LTTE themselves have broken away from this agreement.”

"I will readjust (review) the CFA in a manner that terrorist activities have no place. I will take remedial action after reviewing the CFA monitoring process,” he said, adding “I will get regional co-operation [for this].”

Denouncing the intervention of foreign actors in Sri Lanka’s conflict. Mr. Rajapakse said “I have decided that a new approach should be followed to resolve the crisis in the north and east.”

“[The crisis] has spread throughout the country, without being confined to the north and east. It has spread over the region and even internationally. The interference of outsiders has complicated the issue,” he said.

"I believe that the intervention of foreign countries into our problems have been unnecessarily created due to the UNP which came into power in 1977 without a proper foreign policy. That was the past. Even in the present the UNF has been doing the same.”

I will have a balanced foreign policy,” Mr. Rajapakse said. "I will open discussions with neighbouring India on a priority basis on this issue. I will reach consensus on regional security and peace with them. I will also strengthen relations with China, Russia and Pakistan. I will also have open discussions with the co-chairs US, EU, Japan and Norway.”

In a section of his the manifesto titled “Protecting the nation; National Security and Security Forces,” he vowed “a new national policy on Defence to protect the country's independence and national integrity.”

He also vowed: "I will build the security forces in a manner their morale is high, they will be well trained and well disciplined. Necessary practical and theoretical training will be given. A University of Defence studies will be set up.”

"Under the Ranaviru Gammana concept 50,000 houses will be set up for soldiers. A high-powered committee will be appointed to look into their problems."


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