Sri Lanka's PM leaves for India amid political crisis

[TamilNet, Friday, 16 May 2003, 16:21 GMT]
Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe left Friday morning to Cochin in South India on a private visit while his senior peace negotiators began discussions with the Norwegian delegation led by deputy foreign minister Mr. Vidar Helgessen to explore ways to resolve the present crisis following the temporary withdrawal by the LTTE from peace talks, political sources in Colombo said.

Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe left Colombo Friday morning around 10am accompanied by his wife Ms Maithiri Wickremasinghe.

The Norwegian foreign minister Mr.Jan Peterson left Colombo leaving the other members of his delegation in a last minute attempt to resolve issues raised by the LTTE leadership at Killinochchi Thursday during the talks between him and the LTTE leader Mr.V.Pirapaharan, sources said.

Sri Lanka Government Ministers G.L.Peiris, Milinda Morogoda and Peace Secretariat Secretary General Mr.Bernard Gunatilake Friday morning began discussion with the Norwegian delegation regarding the issues raised by the LTTE leadership, sources said.

The LTTE told the Norwegian foreign minister Thursday at Killinochchi talks that until a structure with adequate administrative and financial powers is established to implement key decisions arrived at earlier peace talks, LTTE would not to participate in peace talks and the Japanese aid summit scheduled to be held next month, sources said.

In another development, the main opposition People Alliance has requested the United National Front government (UNF) that UNF should participate in the Japan aid summit irrespective of whether the LTTE participates or not, sources said.

"PA does not approve the participation of the LTTE in Japan aid talks," said PA spokesman Mr. Mangala Samaraweera addressing a press conference held Friday at the office of the Leader of the Opposition, sources said.

Meanwhile the Defence Ministry Secretary Mr. Austin Fernando Friday denied a claim by the opposition that the security provided to President Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge and former foreign minister Mr.Lakshman Kadirgamar has been reduced.

 

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