Ranil says confident, keen on talks
[TamilNet, Thursday, 16 December 1999, 15:01 GMT]
"Give me chance to talk with the Liberation Tigers" said Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party candidate for next Tuesday's presidential election, Ranil Wickremasinghe. He was addressing the last press conference, before the elections, this morning in Colombo.
Answering a question put forward by a journalist, whether he would accept the three conditions required by the LTTE for talks, the UNP leader, Mr. Wickremasinghe replied "I want to talk with the LTTE. I want to indicate my intention to settle the ethnic problem through peaceful ways to them. Give me a chance for that. Thereafter we can develop the process step by step".
|UNP leader, Ranil Wickremasinghe, addressing a press conference in Colombo, 16 December.Photo:TamilNet|
Wickremasinghe further said he would try to avoid the division of the country and bring the war to an end.
When he was asked to comment on press reports that the LTTE is supporting him in the Presidential elections, Wickremasinghe said "I do not know about that. But I am aware that LTTE is opposing President Chandrika."
He added that he had come to the conclusion it was necessary to have talks with the LTTE if he's elected to office, through his long standing experiences gained in politics.
Quipping that Chandrika was elected as President after being the Prime Minister for a few days, Ranil said he did not enter politics like that. "I am in politics for a longer period".
He said although it was expected poll-related violence could take place in a larger scale, it would not affect his victory.
He expressed confidence that he would poll over 50 % of the total votes in the forthcoming election.