UNP blames government for debacle
[TamilNet, Saturday, 06 May 2000, 12:32 GMT]
The Sri Lankan government, and not the Sri Lanka Army, has to take responsibility for the fall of the Elephant Pass base to the Liberation Tigers, Ranil Wickremesinghe, leader of Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) said in an interview to The Week magazine.
"I do not blame the army for this (debacle). I blame the government which has tried to conduct the war on a political agenda," he told the publication. "The army held the Elephant Pass since the early 80s; its loss is a great blow".
"The result is that the military situation is not in favour of the government," he felt.
"The government had initial success in capturing Jaffna. But sufficient troops were not positioned to guard the main towns. Having put in all military and economic resources to capture Jaffna, they moved in to capture the highways. The army stretched itself out. In the meantime, the LTTE reorganised itself and started inflicting defeats on the army." he explained.
Mr. Wickremesinghe said talks with the LTTE were necessary to settle Sri Lanka's long running conflict.
"I have always been for talking with the LTTE," he said. "In a situation like this we cannot go on trust. It is whether you can come to an agreement and whether the implementation of the agreement will create trust, a better climate than what it is today," he said.