hopeful of common stand with PA
The JVP has reiterated its total opposition to the upcoming
peace talks but it is also continuing discussions with the PA to
reach a common stand on this issue though the PA is giving conditional
support to the peace process.
Secretary Tilvin Silva told The Sunday Times that despite opposition
from some elements within the PA, the talks between the two parties
were progressing successfully. Excerpts.
has been talking to President Kumaratunga. What's going on?
We took up
two main issues - economic matters centring on privatisation and
the peace process which we fear would lead to a division of the
country. We discussed a common stand on these and other matters
but no decision was taken and talks will go on.
senior PA members, including Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapakse,
are known to be against any common agreement with the JVP mainly
your stand on the peace process. Do you agree with the view that
your talks might further split the PA?
We are not
sure of what is happening. But it is also possible the UNF may be
creating these rumours because they don't want the PA and the JVP
to come together. If the PA has internal problems, the PA must settle
them. Our aim is to come together when we see a serious danger to
the national security.
hopeful of a common stand despite the opposition within the PA?
We believe that
those who are genuinely interested in the common good of the country
will be keen on a common stand. We think that those who are against
a common stand are not interested in defeating the UNP. In any event,
we believe that internal disputes won't seriously affect a new agreement
between the PA and the JVP. There was opposition even when we signed
the memorandum of understanding last year, but it went through.
Are your planning to sign another MoU with the PA?
is being drafted and matters are still at a discussion level.
agreed on anything yet?
the PA and the JVP agree that the current course of the country
needs to be changed. We have also agreed to continue discussions.
the PA when in government did what the UNF is doing now. So how
can you come to a common stand with the PA?
protested when the PA privatised public institutions and utilities.
We hope the PA would agree to a change of policy and course.
If the PA
comes to office, will it continue the privatisation policy?
We don't know
what the PA would do. But if we are in government with the PA, we
will oppose privatisation.
On the national
question, the PA and the JVP appear to be far apart. How are you
trying to find the common position?
We have differences,
but there are also certain points we agree on. We hope the discussions
which have been successful so far would bring us closer to a common
your main aim in teaming up with the PA now?
the UNP is destroying the country. We believe the ceasefire agreement
and the peace talks will lead to a separate state for the LTTE.
In addition, some ministers are trying to sell our country to the
United States or to be plundered by global corporations. We will
join not only the PA, but with any party to defeat such moves.
is a snap election, will we see a PA-JVP electoral alliance?
A: We have
not taken up such matters still.
reports refer to a possible no-contest pact.
Those are just
rumours spread by interested parties in the government. We never
discussed an election and we believe there will be no snap elections.
We can't take up electoral alliances before agreeing on how we could
speculation that the PA is trying to team up with the JVP because
some PA MPs are planning to cross over or give conditional support
to the government?
We don't know
the motives of the PA.
Do you insist that the previous PA-JVP agreement was successful?
agreement existed for only 35 days, privatisation was stopped, farmers'
debts were written off and the cost of living was kept under control.
We believe that if we were able to carry on for a year things would
have been much better now. But the UNP did not allow this and the
people were deprived of the benefits.
What is your stand on the peace talks next month?
We don't have
any faith in peace talks. We urge the Government to tell the people
what it will discuss at the so-called peace talks. Otherwise, we
fear the government will give into all the demands made by the LTTE.
We are also against the lifting of the ban on the LTTE before talks.
The ban should be lifted at the negotiating table only if the LTTE
is willing to give up Eelam and arms and join the democratic process.
of reply by Anura Bandaranaike
Times of August 11, 2002 carries a front-page story titled "Anura
Blasts U.S.A again"
I am, indeed
sorry to note that The Sunday Times has resorted to publishing a
highly exaggerated and factually incorrect details about an exchange
of letters that I have had with U.S Ambassador Ashley Wills.
has attempted to create the impression that I have "blasted"
the U.S again. There was only the exchange of letters between the
U.S Ambassador and myself. Ambassador Wills made no reference in
his letter to a PA-JVP axis, as stated in The Sunday Times.
In my reply,
I clearly stated, giving several examples from recent history why
I do not believe that the U.S will in anyway get involved militarily
if war breaks out here again. I never stated that "the U.S
proved to be the most untrustworthy friend listing out a litany
of instances where they have left their friends down." This
is purely a figment of someone's weird imagination. No reference
was made in my letter to the U.S being a most untrustworthy friend.
In your final
paragraph, you say that I have "slammed" the U.S for having
supported a long list of the world's worst dictators and let them
down. This is again completely false. There was no reference whatsoever,
in the letter to Ambassador Wills, regarding the matters referred
to in the final paragraph of your article.
I have always
had the greatest regard for the U.S as a bastion of democracy and
freedom, even though I do not agree with some of their policies.
note: It is unfortunate that Mr. Bandaranaike will not make available
to us his letter to the US Ambassador, which he confirms having
written despite our request for it.
it is a private communication.
In the circumstances,
we will give Mr. Bandaranaike his right of reply to our story, which
he is entitled to and hope that his private dinner with the US Ambassador
last Wednesday would have sorted things out for him.
restrains SLMC from suspending senior member
By Nilika de Silva
The Colombo District Court has issued an enjoining order
against SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem and 21 High Command members restraining
them from suspending the membership of Hafiz Nazeer Ahamed Zainulabdeen,
the party's international affairs chief.
The SLMC leader
reportedly took a decision under extraordinary powers vested in
him by the party constitution to suspend the membership of Mr. Zainulabdeen
on allegation that he fraudulently effected the registration of
title of a property after the death of party founder M. H. M. Ashraff.
was the chairman of the Centre for Muslim Ethnic Studies and Director
International Affairs of the party in addition to being member of
the High Command.
But some party
sources opposed to Mr. Hakeem's leadership said the move to remove
Mr. Zainulabdeen was linked to disagreements Mr. Hakeem had with
Mr. Zainulabdeen over the activities of CMES.
that Mr. Hakeem felt threatened by the international publicity Mr.
Zainulabdeen received as head of the party's international affairs
The CMES which
collects information regarding the Muslim people in the North East
had acted independent of the party and held news conferences to
highlight the plight of the Muslims in the east. CMES members have
also met Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to press their case.
VIP kids in club brawl again
By Faraza Farook and Tania Fernando
Despite warning by the Prime Minister to ministers
that they should check the behaviour of their children, two VIP
children allegedly broke up a barbecue party at the Colombo Swimming
Club on the Kollupitiya beach - with the police now allegedly under
pressure to pin down a party organiser.
party had been organised by a member of the Club - just opposite
the Prime Minister's residence Temple Trees at Kollupitiya - mainly
for friends but others were also allowed at Rs. 1,500 per head.
Among 250 barbecue
revellers were Dakshitha, son of Minister Rohitha Bogollagama and
Ifham Ariff, grandson of Minister M.H. Mohamed. About 16 others
had come with them.
and club officials said the barbecue started getting too hot when
some one started smashing up glasses. Some 10-15 glasses were broken.
tried to bring the situation under control but failed and called
in the organisers. One of the organisers said he saw one person
smashing a glass and when he intervened, one of the VIP children
had asked "do you know who my father is?"
then got out of hand and the club management asked the organisers
to call off the party. As the organisers escorted the two VIP children
to the car park, another fight began there.
The two VIP
children later went to the police station opposite the road and
made a complaint that one of the organisers had assaulted them.
Police told The Sunday Times they went to the Club to investigate
the case and they were under 'political pressure' to take legal
action against those who organised the party.
One of the
organizers was produced before the Fort Magistrate on Friday on
the charge of causing simple hurt. He was released on bail.
organizer had filed an anticipatory bail application.
Ranil Wickremesinghe's orders for good behaviour by children of
ministers after club brawls involving ministers' children. An open-air
shoot out took place in a hotel in Colombo on New Year's Eve. The
Minister's son unable to settle the row between two girls tried
to bring his security guards in. The hotel management refused entry
to the guards because they didn't have tickets. This led to an argument
during which the security guards of the ministerial son shot in
the air, creating chaos on the dance floor.
the sons of ministers S. B. Dissanayake and Mahinda Wijesekera stamped
on the feet of girls while dancing at a nightclub at a hotel in
of the VIPs' were avoiding telling their version of what happened.
defends huge salary, Mangala horrified
The appointment of a consultant to the Economic Reforms
Ministry at an unprecedented salary of more than a million rupees
a month, has set off a political controversy.
G. Hewagama said money allocated for a World Bank funded project
for the Ministry of Economic Reforms Science and Technology would
be utilized to pay the US dollars 12,000 (Rs one million) salary
for the consultant Rohan Samarajeewa.
said Prof. Samarajeewa deserved that payment as he was an American
citizen holding permanent residency status there and an internationally
recognized expert in infrastructure reforms.
At a cabinet
meeting recently President Chandrika Kumaratunga had objected to
the payment of such a huge salary to Prof. Samarajeewa.
Mangala Samaraweera-during whose tenure Prof. Samarajeewa was brought
in as Chairman of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission,
lashed out saying the payment of such a huge salary to Prof. Samarajeewa
would be a draining away of funds coming into the country for development.
has created another record. At a time when the cost of living is
high it has brought a consultant to the Ministry at a massive salary,"
Mr. Samaraweera said.
out that at the TRC Prof. Samarajeewa had got a salary of only Rs.
70,000 a month. (N.de.S.)