UNP flays govt. for dialogue hypocrisy
[TamilNet, Monday, 19 June 2000, 15:32 GMT]
The general secretary of Sri Lanka's main opposition party, Mr.Gamini Athukorala, charged Monday that the government is hypocritical and insincere in its discussions with his party on constitutional reforms aimed at resolving the ethnic conflict in the island. The United National Party's (UNP) general secretary lambasted the state media for distorting decisions that had been mutually agreed upon and for carrying on a misinformation campaign about his party's role in the current dialogue towards a bipartisan consensus on constitutional reforms.
The following is the full text of the UNP statement:
"The United National Party condemns unreservedly the hypocritical and double standard policy adopted by the government in respect of the discussions being held between the government and the UNP on the proposed constitutional reforms.
The state media resorted to a misinformation campaign last week trying to convince the public that the reason for the delay of (sic) implementing the proposed amendments was the attitude of the UNP. It is our responsibility to depict the true position of this scenario to the country and to nail the canard of the 'kept' press whose despicable motive in this regard is to gain cheap political mileage even at the expense of the national interests.
The state controlled media continue to distort the decisions mutually arrived at the discussions by the government and the UNP. This is a violation of the bipartisan agreement reached at the beginning of the discussions on the issue of issuing press communiques.
The UNP has been sharply punctual on each and every occasion in the participation of the discussions. But it is appropriate to note with regret that it was because of the non punctuality of the president herself that the UNP delegation had to take pain to kill time at the temple trees for hours.
There were occasions where talks had to be postponed without giving (sic) any reason due to the mere fact that the President was not available.
The UNP took part in the discussions with a clear policy and readiness.Our delegates never engaged in useless talks (sic) or tongue wagging.
We put forward our policy and vision in solving this disastrous and bleeding problem. We stressed the necessity to strengthen the democratic institutions in the South while attempting to find lasting peace to the war (sic) in the north east. In its endeavour towards this goal, the UNP was able to achieve results by persuading the government to lift the ban that had been imposed on the foreign media and on holding public rallies. The UNP and the international community stand on the same platform on this issue.
It seems, the kept press have no shame whatsoever in their dirty campaign in slinging as much mud as possible at the UNP to fabricate and distort even the decisions mutually agreed upon by the both parties.
It is no doubt that the covert objective is not to find a peaceful solution to the ethnic problem but to prepare in advance for the forthcoming elections.
Their clandestine motive is to convince that there is relationship between the UNP and the LTTE.
This is third grade politics and we condemn it.
We cannot in fact understand the true stand of the government on this issue. Some times it vacillates, then denies its earlier stand, then says something totally different from what it declared earlier and finally gives entirely a different version. What kind of statesman ship is this? What kind of governance?
The government calls the LTTE for discussions on one occasion. Then tries to appoint Prabhakaran as the chief Minister in the north east. Then declares war against the LTTE. The next moment the government condemns the war and utters innuendoes to discourage the security forces.
This was the policy adopted by the PA regime from the very beginning since it elected to office which was detrimental to the country and its people in every aspect.
The double standard policy of the government was to discuss with the UNP in the morning and subject it to virulent attacks in the afternoon using the kept press. Further evidence is not necessary to show that the sole objective of the government was to achieve a cheap political mileage.
The UNP continues to participate in the discussions with the noble objectives of finding a durable solution to the current crisis despite of certain sections of supporters and members of our party and despite the campaign of vituperative politics carried out against our party and its leader as the UNP has a responsibility and a duty to perform for the country".