Hakim to represent Muslims at peace talks

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 25 December 2002, 19:07 GMT]
Minister and the leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Mr.Rauff Hakim said Wednesday that he has been given permission by the party's supreme council and politburo to attend peace talks between the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) and Liberation Tigers (LTTE) as the sole representative of the Muslims.

"I will meet the Prime Minister in a day or two to discuss the progress of oncoming peace talks which are scheduled to begin in Thailand during the first week of January," Mr. Hakim told journalists Wednesday. Mr. Hakim would also brief the Prime Minister on the actions he is going to take against the dissidents led by Athaullah, SLMC sources said.

Meanwhile, the SLMC supreme council and the politburo of the Hakim faction are scheduled to meet Thursday night at the party headquarters Darussalam in Colombo to decide on future course of actions against the dissidents of the party, sources close to Mr. Hakim said.

The eighteenth annual convention of the SLMC held by Athaullah faction Wednesday at Akkaraipattu has forced Mr. Hakim to abandon his wait and see policy towards the dissident group. Earlier Mr Hakim gave time till December 31 for the dissidents to reconcile and return to the party. Political sources said Mr.Athaullah had scoffed at Mr. Hakim that he could not accept his leadership by holding annual convention of his faction at Akkaraipattu.

Mr.Athaullah met the Prime Minister Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe Wednesday and discussed the progress of peace talks. Athaullah faction had demanded that Mr. Hakim should be stripped of his portfolio. Athaullah sources later said they expect some positive steps from the Prime Minister regarding removal of some portfolios from Mr. Hakim.


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