President vows to thwart interim administration plans
[TamilNet, Friday, 23 November 2001, 03:57 GMT]
(News Feature) Sri Lanka’s President Chandrika Kumaratunga Thursday vowed to derail the proposed peace efforts of the main opposition United National Party (UNP) if the latter were to come to power in next month’s Parliamentary elections, the state owned Daily News said Friday. Kumaratunga also urged people not to betray the country by voting for the UNP. Meanwhile, the ruling People’s Alliance (PA) stepped up its efforts to portray the UNP as unpatriotic and soft on the LTTE by presenting to Sri Lanka’s influential Buddhist clergy a tape of a conversation that reportedly took place between a UNP MP and LTTE officials.
Although predicting certain defeat for the opposition, the President nevertheless vowed “if the UNP wins by any fluke and tries to hand over the North and East to the LTTE by setting up an interim administration she would use her Executive powers to thwart it,” the paper said.
Addressing residents of Kekirawa and Nochchiyagama in Anuradhapura district and Kaduruwela and Medirigiriya in Polonnaruwa district through a live satellite link, Kumaratunga said that during the last General Election UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe “pledged to handover the administration of the North and East to [LTTE leader] Prabhakaran temporarily for a period of 5 years without any pre-conditions.”
The interim administration clause included in the UNP election manifesto this time may be something couched in a different and subtle language, the Daily News quoted her as saying.
The President said the people should decide whether they were to betray the country by allowing the UNP to come to power and implement its secret pact with the LTTE.
The President said her government had extended an invitation to the LTTE for a dialogue through Norway and this invitation was still open. But the government had categorically stated that the question of a separate state was not negotiable and that the government had not accepted the LTTE as the sole representative of the Tamil people, she stressed.
President Kumaratunga said her government had been more effective in fighting the LTTE.
Although leaders of the UNP went round the world and called upon nations to stop the sources of LTTE funding world leaders did not respond to their appeals, she said. But the PA government had been able to represent matters to the world and get the LTTE branded as a terrorist organisation and banned internationally, she added.
The President told an election rally Wednesday that almost 75% of the war had been waged effectively in the North East and that she and her government would not rest until the LTTE was exterminated. “We are determined more than at any time in our struggle to wipe out terrorism and we will continue to wage war against the Tigers to a logical conclusion," she added.
The President said that unlike the UNP, the ruling People’s Alliance (PA) had never entered into any secret pact with the LTTE. "We have clearly stated our stand on the ethnic issue. We have said that we would never subscribe to a division of the country."
Meanwhile the Urban Development Ministry in a news release said a high powered Government delegation comprising Ministers Mangala Samaraweera, Anuruddha Ratwatte, Dr. Sarath Amunugama and former MP Dilan Perera handed over to the Malwatte Mahanayaka Thera A cassette reportedly containing a discussion between UNP's Dr. Jayalath Jayawardana and some LTTE leaders. “The Malwatte Mahanayaka was greatly perturbed on listening to the audio cassette,” the Daily News said.