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Rajapaksa for multi-party approach at Geneva talks

President Mahinda Rajapaksa does not believe that the Govt is the sole representative of Lankan people, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Feb 18, 2006 17:32 IST
PK Balachandran
PK Balachandran

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has asked the government's delegation for the Geneva talks on the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) to take a "multi-party approach" because he does not believe that the government is the sole representative of the people of Sri Lanka, according to the state owned Daily News.

Speaking on Friday at an All Party Conference, five days ahead of the crucial talks with the LTTE, Rajapaksa said that he did not believe that the government had the right to become the sole representative of all the democratic parties and other movements in the country.

"The conflict in the country is apparently between two parties, the government and the LTTE. Therefore, it is important to have discussions between the two stake holders in regard to the ceasefire."

"But these discussions should not be confined to the two parties in our endeavor to find a lasting solution to the problem," he said.

"I accept the fact that all the political parties represent aspirations of a section of a society. Those aspirations should be represented in our effort to find a dynamic solution for the problem."

"I don't believe in naming parties as stakeholders and spoilers," he stressed, indicating that the opponents' views should also be accommodated.

"This should be applicable to the North also," the President said.

"North" here meant the Tamil speaking Northern-Eastern Province, where the LTTE claims to be the "sole representative" of the Tamil people and will not allow any rival group to sit in any negotiations with the government of Sri Lanka.

But in the North East Province, there are other groups like the Eelam Peoples' Democratic Party (EPDP), the Tamileela Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP), a breakaway LTTE group led by Karuna, and the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), which also claim to be representatives of the Tamils.

Rajapaksa's multi-approach approach is going to clash with that of the LTTE.

While it has no objection to the government's consulting the Southern or Sinhala political parties, it will certainly not allow any participation by the rival Tamil groups and anti-LTTE Tamil political parties.

All parties should direct talks

Rajapaksa said that he had instructed the government delegation to engage in the talks at Geneva with a multi-party approach.

He then urged the political parties at the conference to join him in "directing the ceasefire talks".

First Published: Feb 18, 2006 13:35 IST