SLFP rejects JVP demands
But talks continue to work out common programme
Some contentious demands including the withdrawal
of Norway from playing the role of peace facilitator and the abrogation
of the Ceasefire Agreement of February 2002 have delayed an earlier
agreed tie-up between the Government and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna
These two demands are among 20 points contained
in a common minimum programme the JVP has formulated and handed
over to President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
It became the subject of a lengthy discussion
by the Central Committee of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) on
Wednesday night. It was chaired by President Rajapaksa. Several
members including Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva and Mangala
Samaraweera expressed the view that as a Government it would be
unwise to accept those JVP demands.
|Nimal Siripala de Silva
This was because of the serious implications it
would cause to the country and the national interest. They said
the move would only benefit the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
(LTTE). Both Ministers were to emphasise that they were, however,
not opposed to the JVP joining the Government. To the contrary they
favoured the idea if the JVP was willing to work within an acceptable
| Mangala Samaraweera
On Thursday night, President Rajapaksa met with
a JVP delegation to discuss the matter further. Associated with
him were Maithripala Sirisena, Mangala Samaraweera, Nimal Siripala
de Silva, Susil Premajayantha, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa and Dullas
Allahapperuma. On the JVP side were Tilvin Silva, Anura Kumara Dissanayake
and K.D. Lalkantha.
It was Minister Nimal Sirpala de Silva who explained
the SLFP position to the JVP delegation. The talks centred on the
contentious issues. The JVP delegation urged the Government side
to provide them with their own response to the issues raised by
the JVP. JVP sources told The Sunday Times that differences of opinion
on some of the issues in the common programme did not mean that
the party would not join the Government. "We have to define
the areas we have agreed and disagreed," the source said.
The JVP's politburo meets today to discuss further
the response of the Government. Thereafter, they are to hold a public
rally in Colombo on August 10 to make public their decision.