Colombo paralyzed by confrontational politics - NPC

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 04 February 2004, 15:07 GMT]
While saying "...the new alliance provides an opportunity for a common approach to national problem solving if taken forward in a principled manner," National Peace Council (NPC)expressed its disappointment that the alliance has "failed to deal with the central issue of the political solution to the ethnic conflict in a coherent or principled manner...JVP holds to the unitary state and opposes an ethnicity-based solution, the SLFP has proposed the devolution of power to the regions," in a media release issued in Colombo today.

Full text of the media release follows:

NEW ALLIANCE PROVIDES OPPORTUNITY FOR
COMMON APPROACH


The formation of the United People's Freedom Alliance comes at a time when politics in the country is in a state of disarray. The new alliance provides an opportunity for a common approach to national problem solving if taken forward in a principled manner. There is an increased sense of disillusionment among the general population about the failure of the main political parties to work together and ensure effective problem solving in the country. There are strikes in the governmental sector, extremist attacks on Christian churches and a halt to negotiations between the government and LTTE.

It is in this context that the National Peace Council expresses its disappointment that the new political alliance between the SLFP and JVP has failed to deal with the central issue of the political solution to the ethnic conflict in a coherent or principled manner. The two main constituent parties to the alliance have taken significantly different positions on the political solution. While the JVP holds to the unitary state and opposes an ethnicity-based solution, the SLFP has proposed the devolution of power to the regions.

The National Peace Council calls on the SLFP and JVP to arrive at a common position on resolving the ethnic conflict on the basis of the progress achieved so far at peace talks between the government and LTTE. This would include the Oslo declaration at which the government and LTTE agreed to a political solution based on the principles of internal self government and federalism. We also call on the new alliance to adopt a bipartisan approach to working with the UNF government on resuming peace talks with the LTTE.

The limits of the traditional oppositional and confrontational politics can be seen in the prolonged deadlock between the President and Prime Minister that has paralysed the government. The two parties should engage with each other on the basis of agreed principles rather than on mere pragmatism and political advantage. We call for a 6 to 12 month period of working together by the President and Prime Minister, and their respective parties, that can put the building blocks for peace and development into place and provide the basis for a new political culture.

 

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