Muslim MPs endorse merger of North and East
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 13 August 2003, 15:44 GMT]
The North East Muslim Parliamentarians' Alliance (NEMPA) Wednesday said that the problems of Muslims could be solved only within the merged northeast province. "We cannot find solutions to the problems of our community by
dividing the merged northeast province," said M.L.A.M.Hisbullah, General Secretary of the NEMPA, in an interview to a private television in Colombo,
Mr Hisbullah is a parliamentarian and member of the National Unity Alliance (NUA) led by Mrs. Ferial Ashraff, wife of the late Mr.M.H.M.Ashraff, who founded the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress now being led by Minister Mr.Rauff
Parliamentarians of the NUA, SLMC and Ashraff Congress, a breakaway group of the SLMC, have formed the North East Muslim Parliamentarians' Alliance to consolidate the position in the present peace process, political sources said.
The stand of Mr. Hisbullah and the NEMPA comes in the wake of demands by the Ampara district parliamentarian and Minister of Highways in the United National Front Government, Mr. A.L.M. Athaulla, last week, that he wanted the Northern and Eastern provinces de-merged.
"It is meaningless to argue that problems of Muslims could be solved by separating the merged northeast province," Mr.Hisbullah said.
But Mr. Hisbullah said that Muslim areas should be brought under a separate interim administration in the merged northeast. "Tamil areas should be brought under one interim administration. Likewise, Muslim areas should be brought under separate interim administration. Both interim administrations should be within the merged northeast province. Any future talks should be held on this basis. We are very clear in our stand," he said.
Mr.Hisbullah said that no solution could be found to the ethnic conflict by splitting the merged northeast province.
"We today speak of bringing an interim administrative structure for northeast to stop the war and to bring
permanent peace. We cannot bring peace by dividing the merged province.
This is our firm and clear stand. The merger of the northeast should be the
basis for a political solution. No Tamil parties or any other political
groups would endorse the division of the merged province," said
The NEMPA has decided to request the Sri Lankan government for a seat in the future peace talks as the sole representative of the North East Muslims, Mr.Hisbullah further said.
The North East Muslim parliamentarians have arrived at this decision at a time
when the Marxist cum Sinhala nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna is
organizing protest meetings and demonstrations in the east demanding that
the merged NE province should be separated into two and two governors
should be appointed, Tamil for north and Muslim for east, political sources
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