Ashraff on pilgrimage, resignation stands

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 23 August 2000, 17:51 GMT]
Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader and Sri Lanka's Ports minister M.H.M.Ashraff left for Mecca in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday on a three-day pilgrimage to perform religious rites called UMRA.

Meanwhile the Supreme Council of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress has approved its leader's decision to resign from the People's Alliance (PA) cabinet, the State-run Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) reported in its night's news bulletin Wednesday.

The state radio, however, said that President Kumaratunge has not accepted the resignation letter sent by Mr.Ashraff.

Sources told TamilNet on Tuesday that soon after Mr.Ashraff's resignation letter reached the Presidential Secretariat, Ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Alavi Moulana rushed to the SLMC Leader's residence and successfully persuaded him to withdraw his letter.

However, it is now learnt that Minister Ashraff had promised his two counterparts that he would only withdraw his resignation letter if two conditions were met.

The first condition is PA leadership should take action against Minister Fowzie for making statements attacking the SLMC and its leader. The second condition is that Mr.Fowzie should withdraw his statement.

PA leadership is waiting for Mr.Ashraff to return from his pilgrimage this weekend to persuade him to withdraw his resignation.

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