Opposition leader supports UNF-LTTE peace talks
[TamilNet, Monday, 20 January 2003, 13:29 GMT]
Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse, Leader of the Opposition Monday said in Jaffna that
he would not oppose the present peace talks now being held between the
United National Front government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), sources in Jaffna said.
On his first official visit to Jaffna as the leader of the opposition Mr Mahinda Rajapakse declared open the Hindu Vedic Teaching School constructed by the Ministry of Hindu Cultural Affairs.
Minister T.Maheswaran said he is prepared to arrange a meeting with
LTTE leaders if President Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge wishes to talk to them
separately. However like the United National Party (UNP) she should also
recognize the LTTE as the sole representative of Tamils. Mr. Maheswaran
made this announcement in the presence of the Leader of Opposition
At the commencement of the event Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse read out a message
written in Tamil language.
He said in his written message: "Peace we all desire is not far away from
us. Permanent peace will dawn in the country shortly if we adopt a give and
take attitude. All of us can be confident that peace will come to the country."
Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse flew to Jaffna Monday accompanied by opposition
Peoples Alliance (PA) parliamentarians Mr.A.H.M.Fowzie, Mr.Jayaraj
Fernandopulle, Mr.Lakshman Premachandra, Vipankara Jayaratne and Piyasena
Gamage at the invitation of the UNF government Minister for Hindu Affairs
Mr.Thiagarajah Maheswaran. The Jaffna area commander of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA)
Major General Sarath Fonseka received them at the Palaly airport.
"Our wholehearted support will be given to present peace talks. Ms
Chandrika Kumaratunge was the first person who initiated the peace process
in the war torn country when she was elected President in 1994," said
A just and fair political solution should be found to the ethnic problem
that could satisfy the aspiration of all communities in the country,
Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse added.
However we would not hesitate to point out the shortcomings found in the
present peace talks but it should not be taken that we are against the
peace initiative, he said.
People of north and south now face similar problems. However we know for
the last twenty years people of north had been affected very badly,
Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse said.
Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse hoisted the national flag and Minister Mr. Maheswaran
the Hindu Nanthi flag. Mr.C.Maheswara Kurukkal, President of the
Consortium, hoisted Hindu Priests Consortium flag. Jaffna district Tamil
National Alliance parliamentarian (TNA) Mr. Mavai Senathirajah, Head of the
Nallai Atheenam Sri La Sri Somasunthara Paramacharya Swamigal, Srimath
Thanthratheva Swamigal, Professor S.Balasundarampillai, Vice Chancellor of
Jaffna University also participated at the event.