UNP pledges talks with LTTE
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 10 November 1999, 14:30 GMT]
Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) leader Ranil Wickremasinghe said that were the UNP to win the Presidential elections next month, he would, without delay, commence talks with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) who would temporarily administer the Tamil dominated North East province for 2 years, prior to elections being held there.
The UNP leader said in interviews to local media, that the talks with the LTTE would be completed as quickly as possible, but there would be no deadline, a direct contradiction of the present government's stance that talks must be completed within a specified period.
Mr. Wickremasinghe said that the administration of the North and East Provincial Councils would be handed over to the Liberation Tigers as a temporary measure for an interim period of two years.
During that period, talks will be held with the aid of third party mediation, and dates will be fixed for Provincial Council elections, he stated.
The UNP Presidential candidate also stated that unlike the present government, the UNP would not pursue a military solution to the island's protracted conflict.
Wickremasinghe also stated that no solution would be possible without the involvement of the Liberation Tigers and that any third party would be chosen with the approval of India.
He hinted that the third party mediator could be a European nation.
The UNP leader stated that if the his party came to power, the economic embargo on food and medicine into the Vanni will be lifted immediately.
He stated that as the Liberation Tigers are obtaining any supplies they need from the captured Sri Lanka Army camps, and it is the civilians, and not the LTTE who are suffering as a result of the embargo.