TNA to meet Ranil before Vanni visit

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 30 July 2002, 16:44 GMT]
The Prime Minister Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe has invited Tamil National Alliance parliamentarians for an important discussion about the current state of the peace process. The meeting comes a day ahead of the last deadline mentioned in the Cease-fire Agreement (CFA) between the Liberation Tigers and Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe's government.

Colombo promised to pull out its troops encamped in schools in the island's northeast province within 160 days of signing the CFA, which came into effect on February 23.

Tamils say that schools and public building have not been vacated by Sri Lankan troops satisfactorily; that they continue to occupy school environs.

The Tigers, however, say that while continuing to insist that Colombo should fulfil its obligations under the CFA, they would not let the peace process be derailed due to technicalities such as the 2 August dead line. Sinhala nationalists argue that the LTTE would use the August 2 deadline as an excuse to precipitate conditions for war.

The PM's office informed the leader of the TNA parliamentary group Mr. R.Sampanthan about the meeting Monday, sources said.

According to the invitation, the meeting between the Prime Minister and TNA parliamentary group is to take place at Temple Trees (the Prime Minister's official residence in Colombo) on Thursday 1 August around 5 p.m.

cbk_award_ceremonyThe TNA parliamentarians are scheduled to meet the leadership of the Liberation Tigers at Killinochchi. On August 3. Earlier meeting between the LTTE and TNA scheduled for July 27 was later postponed.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and President Chandrika Kumaratunga took part in a gallantry awards ceremony for the armed forces in Colombo Tuesday evening amid fears that both are headed for a showdown over a 'spy handbag'and that she might prorogue the Parliament or sack a key cabinet minister, plunging the country into a constitutional and political crisis.

The gallantry awards function took place at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Hall, built by the Chinese in the late seventies as a gift to government of the President's mother.

The President who is also the commander in chief of the Sri Lankan security forces presented five gallantry awards. Defence Minister Tilak Marapane, President's secretary K.Balapatabendi and defence Ministry secretary Austin Fernando also participated in the ceremony.


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