PM urges forces to defeat interim administration ‘conspiracy’

[TamilNet, Monday, 19 November 2001, 05:52 GMT]
Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister, Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, this week called on the armed forces to defeat the peace strategy of the main opposition United National Party (UNP). “Your alert contribution is sought to defeat the conspiracy to divide the country by giving an interim administration to the North and East and guarantee the unity of the country,” the Premier said in a message to the armed forces. The notion of an interim administration is part of the UNP’s strategy to de-escalate the island’s protracted conflict.

In his message, publcised in the state-owned Daily News, Wickremanayake praised the armed forces. “We are indebted to all of you,” he said. “Your sacrifices made possible the liberation of each inch of land. It is due to your efforts that we were able to defeat the discouragement of the Armed Forces during the 17 years and recapture Jaffna and many regions in the North and East.”

The Prime Minister reminded the forces of his government’s efforts to support them, and promised further steps. “We provided the most modern weaponry increasing defence expenditure from rupees sixty to ninety billion. We formed the Ranaviru Authority and allocated houses, lands, children's scholarships and other facilities for our war heroes. We are working to broaden these services in the future too.”

The UNP has said that on coming to power it would “for a short period set up an interim adminstration for the north and eastern provinces”, but did not specifically state the administrative arrangement would be made, until what period, and with whom.

UNP leader Ranil Wickramasinghe has reiterated that he would open talks with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

“It is no secret that the war in the North East has destroyed our economy as well as the social, political stability. People living in the border villages of the North-East and members of the security forces are severely affected due to the curse of this war,” Wickremesinghe said.

“This also has deeply crushed the lives of the innocent Tamil and Muslim civilians living in the North and the East. You are aware this curse has engulfed our entire nation and its social fabric.”


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