PA-UNP talks end in failure

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 28 August 2001, 20:50 GMT]
The final round of talks between the ruling People's Alliance and the main opposition United National Party, which commenced Tuesday afternoon around 3 p.m. continued till late in the night. The talks which centered on forming a national reconciliation government, have finally failed to reach an agreement as both parties were adamant in their stand about sharing power in the proposed national or caretaker government, party sources said.

"The talks between the ruling People's Alliance and the main opposition United National Party held since August 25 was terminated Tuesday without reaching an overall agreement in regard to a common programme of action in a bid to resolve the present political crisis", said in a joint communiqué released with the signatures of Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar of PA and Parliamentarian Mr.K.N.Choksy of UNP.

"However agreement was reached on several issues related to the national question" the communiqué added.

The PA-UNP talks commenced on Saturday at the request by the Prime Minister to the Leader of the Opposition Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe, suggesting that "a national reconciliation government could be formed in a bid to resolve the present political crisis." The second round of talks took place on Monday.

During the third round of talks held Tuesday afternoon, a ray of hope emerged in political circles at one stage that both political parties were on the verge of reaching an agreement. Later in the evening, UNP sources said "every thing has come back to square one as the PA delegation did not want to make Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe the Prime Minister, moving out Mr.Ratnasiri Wickremanayake."

The PA insisted that as a first step, a constitutional amendment should be passed to create the post of Vice Presidency. After elevating the incumbent Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake to the post of Vice President, the PA held, that Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe could be appointed to fill the post of Prime Minister thereafter. But the UNP delegation demanded that its leader Ranil Wickremasinghe should be appointed Prime Minister straightaway without waiting for the adoption of a constitutional amendment to accommodate Mr.Ratnasiri Wickremanayake as Vice President.

At these talks, the PA delegation was led by Minister D.M.Jayaratne and UNP by its Deputy Leader Mr.Karu Jayasuriya.

 

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