UNP ready for conditional talks with PA

[TamilNet, Thursday, 23 August 2001, 11:21 GMT]
The leader of Sri Lanka’s main opposition party said Thursday that his United National Party (UNP) was prepared to hold discussions with the ruling People's Alliance government to find a solution to the country’s political and economic crises. "However, these discussions should be based on the acceptance of the democratic policies and the concepts of parliamentary majority," Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe stressed in a letter to Sri Lanka’s Prime Minster, Ratnasiri Wickremanayake. The UNP leader has said that proposed talks could commence Friday.

Mr.Wickremasinghe's reply was in response to an invitation by the Prime Minister Wickremanayake suggesting that the "two main political parties should open political talks to form a national reconciliation government in a bid to salvage the country from the present crisis".

The UNP has named a group of representatives to have discussions with the People's Alliance, the party said. The members of the UNP team are -Mr.Karu Jayasuriya, Deputy Leader, Party Chairman Mr.Charitha Ratwatte, and Parliamentarians Mr.Tyrone Fernando and Mr.K.N.Choksy.

Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe said in his reply that the proposed talks should be completed within an agreed time frame. "Reconvening parliament, canceling the referendum, establishment of five independent commissions for Police, Judiciary, Elections, Public Service and Media should be given priority in the proposed talks."

Meanwhile the government parliamentary group is scheduled to meet Thursday evening to discuss and take a decision on Mr. Wickremasinghe’s reply to the Prime Minister’s invitation, ruling party sources said. Other matters to be discussed in this meeting which will be presided by President Chandrika Kumaratunge included the ongoing clashes between her and senior minister Mr.S.B. Dissanayake.

Mr. Dissanayake, who is also General Secretary of Kumaratunga’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party, Wednesday replied to President challenging her accusations him of violating financial regulations laid down by the Treasury in running his ministry of Poverty Alleviation.

"I will leave politics if Your Excellency can prove your accusations against me by holding a proper inquiry", said Mr.Dissanayake in his reply to President Kumaratunge.

 

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