not against constitution, says PM
From Sinniah Gurunathan, Trincomalee
Hardly 72 hours after the LTTE agreed to come for peace talks with
the Sri Lankan government for the fourth time, Prime Minister Ranil
Wickremesinghe declared that the setting up of an interim administration
for the northern and eastern provinces will not be against the constitution.
UNP national executive meeting at McHeyzer Stadium in Trincomalee,
the Premier said that if the LTTE accepted the establishment of
an interim administration it would mean that it was also accepting
the country's constitution. "Some basic issues could be taken
up for discussion during the first phase of talks scheduled for
three days and no problem is expected in those talks," the
Prime Minister said.
of setting up of the interim administration or problems affecting
Muslims in the east could be raised in later talks. We should first
understand the core issues of the other side. Solutions could not
be found to all problems at once. We must find solution to problems
one by one," the premier said.
said he did not wish to set a time frame for the duration of talks.
He explained that the UNP in its manifestos at the 1999 Presidential
elections and in the two subsequent Parliamentary elections had
mentioned the proposal of the establishment of an interim administration
to the north and east.
aim should be to find a decisive solution without dividing the country
and also on upholding democratic principles. "The interim administration
will be set up according to the Constitution," the Prime Minister
He said the
issue of the interim administration would be among the matters to
be taken up at the Thailand talks scheduled to be held between September
12 and 17.
said that in the first round of talks with the LTTE only 'basic
issues' would be taken up. Referring to the issue of withdrawal
of army camps from certain places in the north and east, the Prime
Minister said that in Muslim populated areas the Muslim MPs would
be consulted before such withdrawal.
I have come to Trincomalee without a bullet proof jacket,"
he recalled adding that in December last year when he addressed
a UNP election meeting in the Trincomalee at the very Stadium he
was wearing one. "This shows the peaceful environment prevails
in Trincomalee today," he said.