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Prez urges SL parties to monitor talks

The move is part of the policy to carry all political parties on the question of peace, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Mar 07, 2006 11:39 IST
PK Balachandran
PK Balachandran

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has asked all parties represented in parliament to join him in monitoring the peace talks with the LTTE from his Operations Room in Colombo.

Rajapaksa had extended the invitation at the All Parties Conference held here on Monday, according to Lucien Rajakarunanayake of the President's Media Unit.

The conference was the third in a series of consultations to make the peace talks and the peace process consensual and transparent.

The invitation to all parties to join in monitoring the talks is seen as being a part of Rajapaksa's policy of carrying all political parties with him on the national question of peace.

During the last talks in Geneva, on February 22 and 23, only the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) was with the President at the Operations Room, Rajakarunanayake recalled.

The President had asked the government's delegation at the talks to consult him over the hotline before taking any stand or decision on any matter.

An Operations Room was set up at Temple Trees, his office in Colombo.

Thanks to this arrangement, decisions taken and strategies adopted by the government delegation at Geneva had had the full approval of the President, and presumably the JVP too.

At the All Parties Conference on Monday, only the Buddhist monks' party, the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) took a hardline, Rajapakarunanayake said.

The JHU representative had warned that if the talks with the LTTE did not accord with the pre-election agreement the President had entered into with his party, it would take to the streets to agitate.

The JVP was more accommodative, Rajakarunanayake said. Its spokesman said that the JVP was satisfied with the way the peace and the talks processes were being conducted by President Rajapaksa thus far.

But his party would urge the government not to lower its guard militarily because the LTTE could not be trusted.

" The Tiger will not change its stripes", he said.

The spokesman of the main opposition party, United National Party (UNP) also supported the talks process, but asked for a separate meeting with the President on the issue.

All parties in parliament, except the pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance (TNA), attended the conference.

The President would be meeting the TNA MPs separately.

The TNA has specific problems in regard to the peace talks and the peace process because it espouses the LTTE cause exclusively.

First Published: Mar 07, 2006 11:39 IST