SL President threatens to de-merge northeast province

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 20 August 2003, 15:11 GMT]
Sri Lanka’s President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunge, issued a warning through her media spokesman, Mr.Harim Peiris, Wednesday that she would not hesitate to de-merge the northeast province if the United National Front government failed to quell the violence and restore peace in the east, media sources said.

Mr. Peiris, addressing a press conference Wednesday, said that people and religious leaders of the eastern province are making repeated requests to the President to de-merge the province to ensure their rights and safety. “Requests for the de-merger of the northeast province are closely studied by the President and she would take action in this regard at the appropriate time,” he said at the press briefing.

“President Kumaratunga is of the view that people have started losing confidence in the Norwegian monitoring Mission in the country, as they are not taking prompt steps against the ceasefire violations by the LTTE,” said the spokesman for the President.

The northern and eastern provinces were merged according to the Indo-Sri Lanka agreement signed in 1987 by the then Sri Lankan President, J.R.Jayawardene, and the then Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, with a condition that a referendum should be held to merge the provinces permanently after one year. However, the temporary merger of the two provinces still continues even after sixteen years and a Governor who has been appointed by the President is now administering the North East Provincial Council established under the 13th Constitutional Amendment.

The NEPC has had no elected administration since it was dissolved by the then President Mr.R.Premadasa in 1989.The other seven provincial councils in the south are being administered by elected administrations under the 13th constitutional amendment which was intended especially to solve the Tamil national question, political sources said.


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