Chandrika, Ranil to discuss crisis

[TamilNet, Friday, 28 April 2000, 14:05 GMT]
The Sri Lankan President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga invited the leader of the opposition Mr.Ranil Wickremesinghe today for talks on the military crisis in the north. The talks are scheduled for May 3 at the President's official residence in Colombo.

The President has invited UNP chairman Karu Jayasuriya and party General Secretary Gamini Athukorala along with the opposition leader for the discussions.

The leader of the UNP will be briefed by the President of the developments in the north and the course of action the government intends to follow there according to sources in the Presidential Secretariat. The meeting was arranged following a telephone conversation between the Sri Lankan President and the UNP chairman this morning they said.

The meeting is a pre-emptive move by the President to stop the UNP from profiting from the political fall out of the SLA's debacle in Elephant Pass. The UNP has been quick to seize the opportunity to condemn the government for handling the war ineptly.

With elections due in August and pressure mounting from Sinhala nationalist groups for a more strident line on handling the ethnic conflict, the People's Alliance regime does not want the UNP to successfully ride the general discontent among the Sinhalese over the strategic gateway garrison analysts in Colombo say.


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