Peace official to meet LTTE leadership

[TamilNet, Thursday, 22 August 2002, 16:29 GMT]
The ruling United National Front (UNF) Thursday said it expects Norway to announce in a few days the date direct peace talks between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam are to commence in Thailand. "Peace Secretariat Secretary General Mr. Bernard Gunatilake is scheduled to visit Killinochchi shortly to hold vital talks with the Head of the LTTE's political wing, Mr.S.P.Thamilchelvan. Talks are also expected to focus on development activities in north," said Minister G.L.Peiris, cabinet spokesman Thursday at a press briefing.

Earlier during talks between Sri Lanka's Minister Milinda Morogoda and LTTE political advisor Mr. Anton Balasingham held at Oslo, Norway it was agreed to hold the first round of talks between September 12-17. The responsibility of determining the exact date for commencing of such talks was entrusted to the Norwegian government.

Minister Peiris said, "After the first round of talks in Thailand, the Prime Minister is expected to visit America to participate in a discussion regarding foreign aid and investment to Sri Lanka." UN Secretary General Mr.Koffi Annan has also assured additional assistance, Minister Peiris stated.

The proposed 18th constitutional amendment is to be submitted to the Supreme Court to determine whether it is consistent with the country's constitution, Minister Peiris said.

The 18th amendment states that the President cannot dissolve parliament without getting its approval. Parliamentarians can vote according to their conscience and no politcal party can expel its members from voting against its policy.

However, his government is of the opinion that holding of a referendum before tabling the 18th amendment is not needed, Minister Mr.Peiris said.

Prof. Peiris further said that his government is confident of obtaining two-thirds majority in parliament to pass the proposed 18th constitutional amendment.

Meanwhile political circles believe that the government's decision of obtaining a confidence vote in parliament on August 29 is to ascertain the mood of the parliamentarians in other parties before tabling the proposed 18th amendment.

 

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