President supports Sports Minister

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 08 March 2000, 21:47 GMT]
In a significant reiteration of the controversial statement by Minister for Sports, Mr.S.B.Dissanayaka, President Chandrika Kumaratunga Bandaranaike said that her government would place its proposals for constitutional change before Parliament even if it cannot secure the two thirds majority needed to ratify new system.

She was addressing a gathering at Temple trees, her official residence, to mark the International Women's Day on Wednesday March 8.

The President in her speech said:

"I waited six years to submit the constitutional reforms because I required a two thirds majority for implementing them. The people gave me a mandate at the Presidential elections to submit this proposal in Parliament."

"What can we do as a responsible government if the Tigers keep fighting even after the reforms are implemented?"

"I do not like to see lives being lost in this war. The rights of the minorities should be ensured by the constitution."

"The UNP and the Liberation Tigers are the main obstacles to bringing about peace in the island"

She said that if the Liberation Tigers do not accept peace even after the implementation of the constitutional changes then women should demonstrate before Pirapaharan's house to urge him to accept the settlement.

A Tamil politician from the east, commenting on the President's speech said that it gave clear indication that she was intent on continuing the war by portraying the UNP and the Tigers as the sole obstacles to peace before even preliminary negotiations between the her government and the Tigers have begun.

"It also shows that the PA regime wants to submit its much modified proposals of '97 before discussing them either with the Tigers or anyone else" he pointed out.


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