Confrontational politics bane of Sri Lanka – Ranil
[TamilNet, Monday, 09 September 2002, 19:17 GMT]
"The main reason for the present crisis in Sri Lanka is due to the confrontational politics between the two major political groups in the south," said Prime Minister Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe addressing a mammoth rally held Monday evening at Colombo Town Hall. "Both parties to the conflict should participate in the peace talks scheduled to begin in Thailand next week between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam with full confidence," said the Prime Minister Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe.
The People's Power rally was organised by the UNF in
support of peace and democracy, to show an
unprecedented mass backing for its peace talks with
The marches and mammoth rally in the capital
is seen by local political observers as a UNF strategy
to take the wind out of the sails of PA and the
Sinhala nationalist Janata Vimukthi Peramuna that
vowed last week to muster Sinhala opposition to the
"Sixty five thousand people have been killed in the war. Properties have been destroyed. The Chavakachceri
town lies devastated. Both parties to the conflict
should participate with full confidence in the peace
talks scheduled to begin in Thailand next week," said
Prime Minister in his address.
Hundreds of thousands of people, including United
National Party cadres, thronged the capital from many
parts of the island and marched in four major
processions led by Sri Lanka's Defence Minister Tilak
Marapane, Ceylon Workers' Congress leader Arumugam
Thondaman, the leader of the Up Country People’s
Front, Mr. Periyasamy Chandrasekaran and other
powerful cabinet ministers and coalition partners.
The long processions commenced around afternoon from
Sugathathasa Stadium, Thunmula Junction, Borella
Junction and Independent Square to converge on the
Town Hall grounds near down town Colombo.
"It was President Chandrika Kumaratunga who suggested
Norwegian mediation in the peace process when her
Peoples Alliance regime was in power. President
Chandrika Kumaratunga also presented the idea of
setting up an interim administration in the northeast
province. I am now taking these two steps forward
after being elected to power, rejecting
confrontational politics," said Prime Minister Mr.
Ranil Wickremesinghe, taking a broad swipe at Sri
Lanka’s President who says she is opposed to the
manner in which he is handling the peace talks with
the Liberation Tigers.
"The government initiated the peace talks with
Norwegian facilitation following requests by the
United States of America and several other countries.
Norway represents the international community in
finding a peaceful political solution to the
conflict," he said.
The Prime Minister said the Peoples Power campaign has
shown to the international community that the entire
country is behind the peace initiatives taken by the
UNF government except some disillusioned and
disgruntled politicians who thrive on communal
"The path to peace is a difficult one. Both parties
engaged in the peace talks have to face difficulties.
However my government has no intention of deviating
from the aim of achieving a permanent peace," said Mr.
"The LTTE has entered the main stream of politics
after many years of fighting. The UNF government has
played a vital role in this regard. The government has understood its responsibility of
taking this further," said the prime Minister
Mr. Karu Jayasuriya, Deputy Leader of the United
National Party said that the Peoples Power rally was
not the program of a political party but a collective
voice of the people.
Mr.Arumugam Thondaman, Minister and the President of
the Ceylon Workers Congress said that there is no future for the country
without peace. He said that thousands of upcountry
plantation workers have participated in the peace