2ND LEAD

SLFP, UNP to sign MoU

[TamilNet, Thursday, 05 October 2006, 13:01 GMT]
Sri Lanka’s two main parties, the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the main opposition United National Party (UNP), have agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) before 15th of October 2006, SLFP sources said Thursday. The UNP and the SLFP are expected to announce formally agreement in a joint statement later in the day.

Reports on six identified subjects which included the ethnic crisis, electoral reforms, and good governance were submitted by six sub-committees appointed at the second round of talks between the two parties.

The agreement comes weeks after the two parties began discussions on September 15. Talks were held on September 19 and October 3.

The SLFP is headed by President Mahinda Rajapakse who has rejected many of the strands of the Norwegian peace process associated mainly with the UNP government of Dec 2001- April 2004.

Ahead of Thursday’s agreement, Sri Lanka’s third largest party, the Janatha Vimukthi Perumana (JVP) broke of its own talks with the SLFP earlier this week.

The ultranationalist JVP said agreement could not be reached on four of the 20 points at the centre of long-running discussions with the SLFP.

The four sticking points included the ejection of Norway as peace facilitator and abrogation of the February 2002 ceasefire signed by the UNP government and the LTTE.

The JVP has, after a lull, resumed street agitation this week against the Norwegian peace process.

The JVP and the hardline monks party, JHU, were instrumental in mobilizing the support of the majority of Sinhala voters behind President Rajapakse in last November’s elections, enabling him to defeat UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.

 

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