UNP wants army de-politicized

[TamilNet, Monday, 08 May 2000, 20:43 GMT]
The United National Party today decided to oppose the monthly extension of the Emergency in Parliament on May 10. Generally the UNP is not present in Parliament when the extension of the Emergency comes up for voting. The party also claimed that the need of hour is to de-politicize the security forces.

The following is the full text of the press release:

"The grave situation prevalent in the north-east was discussed extensively while stressing the need to strengthen the security forces in order to prevent the repeat of any military reversals the stand taken by the United National Party is that lasting peace after ending the war could be achieved without a division of the country only through a political solution that is acceptable to all communities.

"The group was apprised on the discussions held between the leader of the UNP Hon. Ranil Wickremasinghe and political leaders of Tamil Nadu. The group expressed it's appreciation and gratitude to Hon. Wickremasinghe for creating a friendly environment in India about Sri Lanka in the present context.

"The UNP parliamentary group approved the special statement made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of India Hon. Jaswanth Singh in parliament on May 4th stating that India was committed to a negotiated settlement which fulfills the aspirations of all communities under the framework of a united Sri Lanka.

"The UNP is acting as a responsible opposition at a time when the country is placed in a precarious situation. It attended the bipartisan talks despite various acts perpetrated against it's supporters by the government.

"The government is still to present a comprehensive combined plan or strategy to get out of this abysmal situation instead what they have done was to introduce some draconian regulations under the public security ordinance.

"The president did not inform the UNP delegation that she was impose regulations when she met them on May 2nd to discuss the current situation.

"She further told a UNP delegation last Friday that the emergency regulations would not affect the day to day activities of political parties. Sadly this has not happened these oppressive regulations have been used to suppress opposition and to prevent exposure the government's undemocratic action towards the media.

"The utmost necessity of the hour is to de-politicize the security forces, put an end to corruption and to strengthen the security forces and rebuild confidence among the fighting cadres by appointing efficient military officers with a proven track record to key positions in the security forces.

"Unfortunately the emergency regulations gazetted recently do not help in this regard in any way. However, these regulations have been manipulated to cover mistakes and corruption in the defence establishment from exposure and to obstruct political activities in the south.

"The UNP stresses that it is in no position to support these oppressive draconian regulations that sounds the death knell of democracy violate fundamental rights and the freedom of the people.

"The UNP calls upon the government to take steps immediately to amend clauses 8,9.12,14,25,26,33 and 41 (of the '79 constitution) and withdraw paragraph 41 of the public security ordinance.

"We also request the government not to present paragraph 41. The regulation should be withdrawn.

"Therefore the UNP has decided to vote against the motion for the extension of the emergency which is to be debated this week in parliament if the government does not heed these requests." the UNP statement concluded."


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