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 LTTE.

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 peace process.

People's Power"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 politics.

"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. Ranil Wickremesinghe.

"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 rally.

People's Power


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