President discusses crisis with opposition

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 02 May 2000, 20:31 GMT]
The Sri Lankan President and the leader of the opposition held a two hour meeting to discuss crisis over the military debacles in the northern part of the island today. The United National Party delegation had asked the President to remove the stringent censorship on all war related news and to convene the Parliament by May 5 according to a press communique issued by the Presidential secretariat this afternoon.

chandrika_kumarathunge_9-p.jpgThe President had explained the military situation in the north to the UNP delegation. She asked the UNP delegation to contact her or the Secretary of Defence directly to determine the true state of affairs in the north.

The UNP delegation led by party leader Mr.Ranil Wickremesinghe urged the President to remove the censorship on all military news to prevent the confusion among the people caused by rumors. UNP sources said that the President had declined to lift the censorship.

She told the UNP delegation that she cannot convene the Parliament on May 5 as requested by the opposition because the Deputy Minister of Defence Gen.Anuruddha Ratwatte would be out of the country at the time.

ranil_wickremesinghe.jpgHowever, the President informed the UNP that the crisis can be taken up for debate on May 10 when the Parliament meets to vote on the extension of the island wide Emergency.

UNP sources said that it was clear from the President's briefing that there is a very serious military crisis in the Jaffna peninsula now. The possibility of seeking foreign assistance to fight the Liberation Tigers was also discussed at the meeting they said.

The government was represented by the President, the Deputy Minister for Defence Gen.Anuruddha Ratwatte, Secretary of Defence, Mr. Chandrananda de Silva, the President's Secretary Mr. Kusumsiri Balapatabendi and Minister for Public Administration and Home Affairs, Mr. Ratnasiri Wickremanayaka.

The UNP delegation comprised Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, party General Secretary Gamini Athukorala and Chairman Karu Jayasuriya.

 

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