Opposition leader supports UNF-LTTE peace talks

[TamilNet, Monday, 20 January 2003, 13:29 GMT]
Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse, Leader of the Opposition Monday said in Jaffna that he would not oppose the present peace talks now being held between the United National Front government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), sources in Jaffna said. On his first official visit to Jaffna as the leader of the opposition Mr Mahinda Rajapakse declared open the Hindu Vedic Teaching School constructed by the Ministry of Hindu Cultural Affairs.

Minister T.Maheswaran said he is prepared to arrange a meeting with LTTE leaders if President Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge wishes to talk to them separately. However like the United National Party (UNP) she should also recognize the LTTE as the sole representative of Tamils. Mr. Maheswaran made this announcement in the presence of the Leader of Opposition Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse.

At the commencement of the event Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse read out a message written in Tamil language.

He said in his written message: "Peace we all desire is not far away from us. Permanent peace will dawn in the country shortly if we adopt a give and take attitude. All of us can be confident that peace will come to the country."

Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse flew to Jaffna Monday accompanied by opposition Peoples Alliance (PA) parliamentarians Mr.A.H.M.Fowzie, Mr.Jayaraj Fernandopulle, Mr.Lakshman Premachandra, Vipankara Jayaratne and Piyasena Gamage at the invitation of the UNF government Minister for Hindu Affairs Mr.Thiagarajah Maheswaran. The Jaffna area commander of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) Major General Sarath Fonseka received them at the Palaly airport.

"Our wholehearted support will be given to present peace talks. Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge was the first person who initiated the peace process in the war torn country when she was elected President in 1994," said Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse.

A just and fair political solution should be found to the ethnic problem that could satisfy the aspiration of all communities in the country, Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse added.

However we would not hesitate to point out the shortcomings found in the present peace talks but it should not be taken that we are against the peace initiative, he said.

People of north and south now face similar problems. However we know for the last twenty years people of north had been affected very badly, Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse said.

Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse hoisted the national flag and Minister Mr. Maheswaran the Hindu Nanthi flag. Mr.C.Maheswara Kurukkal, President of the Consortium, hoisted Hindu Priests Consortium flag. Jaffna district Tamil National Alliance parliamentarian (TNA) Mr. Mavai Senathirajah, Head of the Nallai Atheenam Sri La Sri Somasunthara Paramacharya Swamigal, Srimath Thanthratheva Swamigal, Professor S.Balasundarampillai, Vice Chancellor of Jaffna University also participated at the event.

 

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