Parliament to debate cease-fire agreement

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 08 May 2002, 22:50 GMT]
Sri Lanka’s government Wednesday agreed to hold a full day debate in Parliament with the main opposition People’s Alliance (PA) on the ceasefire agreement with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), officials said. The debate will be held Thursday from 10 a.m. till 4.30 p.m.

Prime Minister Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe conceded to a demand by the leader of the PA, Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse that the ceasefire, which came into effect on February 23, should be debated, enabling MPs to express their views on it freely. Rajapakse is also a stalwart of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), a constituent of the PA.

The government’s agreement to hold the debate comes despite Mr Wickremesinghe's comments last week that no purpose would be served by it.

“No purpose would be served debating about the ceasefire agreement, we should go for a discussions, The international Community is with us and they are backing us, this was not so at the time of last year's May day,” the Prime Minister said at the May Day rally of the ruling United National Front last week.

Meanwhile the SLFP has decided to hold a protest rally on May 16 in Nugegoda, Colombo urging the government to seek the India’s assistance in monitoring the ceasefire agreement along with the officially designated Norwegian monitors, opposition sources said.

SLFP sources said that Rajapakse feels that a new joint monitoring mission which included India would “revamp the whole peace process.”

However the sources added that the SLFP is split on the issue as the former Speaker and SLFP parliamentarian Mr.Anura Bandaranaike insists that the present composition of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission is biased towards the LTTE.

 

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