UNP upbeat on interim council
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 15 December 1999, 17:07 GMT]
Ranil Wickremasinghe, Presidential Candidate of Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party today addressing election meetings in Trincomalee and Akkaraipattu in the eastern province said that if he's elected,he would form an interim administrative council for the North-East,with special arrangements to safeguard the interests of Sinhalese and Muslims.
He added that he would first present an economic package to alleviate the sufferings of north-east people, instead of a political package. A political package would be presented after the successful implementation of the interim council system, he added.
Elections to the north east provincial council could not be held now, he said. The security situation of the province should improve to hold elections and until such time the proposed interim administrative council could play an important role in developing the province, he said.
He said that once he was elected President, he would take immediate steps to send food and medicine to Wanni in the north and Vakarai in the east.
The interim administrative council would be set up thereafter, he said.
He said representations in the interim administrative council would be decided according to the ethnic ratio of the north-east province. LTTE also should be given a place in the interim administrative council, he said.
Mr. Wickremasinghe added that establishing an interim administrative council to the north-east was not new to the country.
Under the Indo-Sri Lanka agreement, the former President J.R.Jayawardene appointed an Interim Council. But it could not work due to some misunderstandings.
The Interim Council would be given full powers to do rehabilitation and development works in the north-east and once it started working , the problems faced by the people of the north-east province could be easily identified, he said.
Thereafter a political package could be formulated to find an amicable settlement, he added.
Mr. Wickremasinghe said that he would modernise the army and the police to face the challenges of the 21st century.
"We cannot bring peace to the country while the LTTE in the Vanni jungles and we in Colombo. We must first persuade the LTTE to participate in the interim administration. We would be able to find a political solution thereafter. The present war cannot be brought to an end without talking to the LTTE " he said.