The main opposition United National Party today criticised Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake for using what it called language unbecoming of a person holding such high office.
By Zacki Jabbar
Galle District UNP MP Gayantha Karunathillake addressing the media in Colombo said that deregotary terms such as "devil" used by Wickremanayake to describe visiting UN Under Secretary of Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes was an insult to the whole country.
“It was the government that invited Mr Holmes to visit the North and East and make his observations. Just because they do not agree with his assessment of the situation prevailing in those areas does not entitle Mr Wickremenayake or Highways Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle to behave in an uncivilised manner.”
There is a procedure to deal with such issues and the correct thing to do would have been for the Foreign Ministry to raise the matter with the organisation that Mr Holmes represents, he said.
“The government is antagonising the international community unnecessarily and loosing its much needed assistance. For more than a week it has kept attacking Holmes obviously with a view to diverting public opinion from the rising cost of living, rampant corruption and its terror tactics.”
Karunathillake queried how one could stop the United Nations from raising human rights violations when aid workers and civilians have been killed in various parts of the country.
Holmes, in his observations on Sri Lanka said that it was one of the most dangerous places for relief work.
Fernadopulle responded by describing Holmes as a “terrorist” and alleged that he had been bribed by the LTTE (Tamil Tigers) to carry out a worldwide mudslinging campaign against Sri Lanka. "This man is also a terrorist. The government pays no attention to what he utters.”
This was followed by Wickremanayake joining the attack on Holmes.
Yasushi Akashi, Japanese Peace Envoy for Sri Lanka, said Japan was very watchful of the alarmingly continuous Human rights violations in Sri Lanka, whether it is by the LTTE, the Government or any other. He hoped that the Independent International body appointed in this regard will expedite its report to uphold the rule of law in Sri Lanka.
Japan has not decided on suspension of aid to Sri Lanka just yet, although US and UK have already done it. Japan who is the single largest donor for the last two decades is scrupulously observing Sri Lanka’s situation. However, he was not ready to commit for the future.
Akashi was not happy with the Government’s mode of IDP re-settlements.‘These humanitarian issues, we view with concern’ he asserted.
‘The current situation is not the same as in 2001/2002. The present government is not as enthusiastic for peace as under Ranil Wickremesinghe when the peace process went on track. No Organisation on its own can usher in peace unless Sri Lankan Govt. sincerely aspires for it.’ he emphasized.
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If Mahinda Chintana rejected by the whole world is to continue– the country will soon be in darkness and disaster – Ranil Wickremesinghe
The Mahinda Chintana has been rejected by the whole world because of the Government’s obstinacy totally disregarding valuable international advice. Consequently, the Government is plunging the country into an era of total darkness and disaster, said Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe at a meeting of the UNP parliamentarians on 21st May at the Parliament complex.
It is the International opinion that if the LTTE war for a separate state and its terrorism are to be defeated the only way out is a politically negotiated solution, he emphasized.
United States, Japan, European Union, India and other recognized countries have time and again underlined the need for a negotiated solution. Now, China too shares this opinion.
A negotiated solution taking into account the concerns and interests of all communities, the Tamils, Sinhalese, Muslims and Burghers and their representations must be scrupulously studied in depth; and a solution based on the foundation of a single nation should be arrived at.
The whole world which has understood that the Rajapakse regime is without a clue and a plan as to this issue; and is aimlessly moving in an uncharted sea has disdainfully rejected the Government’s methods.
The inevitable result of the Government’s inflexible and recalcitrant attitude is the global rejection of the Mahinda Chintana .In the circumsytances, being unable to extricate the country from the current economic impasse, the President has to seek aid from a country like Jordan, he added.
Mahinda Rajapakse assured the masses loudly from election platforms that if the world market oil prices rise, he would get oil at low prices from Jordan for the people. What happened to these promises? Wickremesinghe asked.
The Rajapakse Government which has become bankrupt because of its own bungling, and which has destroyed its image internationally, is now doing its rounds to form a National Government. It has transpired that Rajitha Seneviratne has inquired about this from Parliamentary M.P. Gamini Jayawickrema Perera.
If the President wishes to form a National Government, Gamini Jayawickrema Perera has advised that the best move would be to discuss with the Opposition Leader on this, Ranil Wickremesinghe related.
UNP being a party which respects party discipline will in such a circumstance refer to the Executive Committee for its decision.
Sri Lanka’s problems cannot be solved by Political cunning and duplicity. The way the Mahinda Chintana is being implemented by the Rajapakse Bros.is only paving the way for the country’s downfall and darkness.
If Sri Lanka is to be saved from the impending disaster, the UNP has to go ahead with its programs and policies, concluded Wickremesinghe.
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Chinese Communist party leaders emphasized that power devolution was the only way out of the national question prevalent in Sri Lanka, Opposition Leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, said at a briefing to the party’s parliamentary group on his Chinese tour yesterday.
By Kelum Bandara
He said China remains an undivided country despite being geographically large, due to devolution of power to the provinces. “Countries such as the United States, Japan, European Union and India have pointed out the need for a political solution to the conflict in the country. Today, China is highlighting it. The UNP’s policy is also in line with the policy adopted by the Chinese Communist party in this regard,” he told the meeting.
The UNP leader said they should opt for a solution based on the Sri Lankan identity after giving due consideration to the genuine aspirations of the Tamil people. “There should be a deep and comprehensive analysis of the aspirations of Sinhala, Muslim and Burgher people in pursuit of a negotiated political settlement acceptable to all. For this purpose, the UNP has put forward a programme. Sri Lanka can opt for an alternative with the assistance of the international community if the LTTE does not respond to it positively,” he said. He told the meeting that the entire world had rejected the approach made by the present government without any vision and plan.
Meanwhile, some MPs raised concern about certain reformists participating in TV programmes representing the UNP. In reply, Wickremesinghe said they should write to the state media organizations requesting the latter not to accept reformists as UNP representatives anymore. The UNP leader also commented on government activities, with emphasis being given to the fact that 75 percent of the country’s budget being controlled by the Rajapaksa brothers. “In Parliament, we have to debate only 25 percent of state affairs because of 75 percent of them are controlled by the Rajapaksa brothers. Three of them do no represent the House. So, we cannot debate their activities,” he said in a lighter vein. –Wijeya Newspapers
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UNP Parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake at a media briefing today (17th May) at the Opposition media Unit said that the Government is now a bundle of confusion having started from nowhere on a heap of lies is fast getting there in every sphere of its activities.
The Government is making the on-going war (which too has been muddled up) as a handy excuse to defend the economic crises and chaos unleashed since the advent of Rajapakse regime. This war has been there from 1976; weren’t there development and progress in the country during the UNP‘s period in power? Even world fuel prices fluctuated, but UNP did not raise diesel, petrol, gas and kerosene as rapidly and disproportionately high as this Government does, he added.
JVP,s Wimal Weerawansa who said earlier that they would remove the plug of the World Bank has been unable to search the plug under this Government, we presume. This has to be naturally expected because the whole nation knows of the total blindness of the JVP and the Government to the people’s hardships and untold suffering.
The Government knows that only profusion of lies and contradictions can propel them as they have no proper solutions to the country’s problems.
The Minister who said recently that the gas prices will not rise has raised the price by Rs. 38.00 (it is expected to go up to Rs. 160.00 soon.)
It is only a few weeks ago the Govt. boasted that the LTTE attack did not harm the Gas plant , now admits there has been a damage to the tune of over seven lakhs U.S. dollars.
The Government said after the last bus fare hikes just a few months ago that there won’t be another raise has decided to increase it from the 1st of June. Again contradicting their earlier promise that it will be increased only from 1st of July.
The government has dishonored its promises to increase the salaries vis a vis the cost of living which now stands at an unprecedented level based on the inflation rate of 21%. Even in India the inflation rate is only 3.8%. In Singapore it is 1.6 % and Thailand 6%. No country in the region has this high rate as Sri Lanka. The workers are also cheated out on their EPF funds as the Government is giving only a 9% return on their funds while the inflation rate is at 21%, he asserted.
While the people are groaning under the heavy burdens of prices of food and essential items which are increasing daily, the Rajapakse Bros have gone in for another MahinAir Aircraft at a cost of Rs. 110 million even as the fiscal mismanagement, rampant corruption, colossal wastages in Ministries and State Depts., and spectre of uncertainty as to the future of this country has made this Government clinically dead and its coffers totally depleted. It is now existing on the resuscitation and artificial respiration provided by the people, alleged Ravi Karunanayake.
He also made a plea to all sections of the country’ media to co-operate to highlight the doom and gloom facing the people owing to the reckless and callous attitude of the Government to the people’s burning problems and dire straits.
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Leader of UNP and Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe in his letter to popular actor Ranjan Ramanayake has explained that he has obtained approval from the UNP Executive Committee to take measures to stamp out corruption within the first three years of the UNP coming into power.. He has given seven points to achieve this:
In his reply Ranil Wickremesinghe says thus :
I fully endorse your views on this subject as you will be aware that corruption is an absolute anathema to me.
I have intimated our discussion to the UNP Executive Committee, as we and yourself are on the same platform, the UNP has lauded this.
This scheme spells out to eliminate corruption at all levels as promptly as possible within the three years of the United National party being installed in power:
Implementing the provisions of the law allowing freedom to gather information and data.
A central unit to be established to deal with and decide on the purchases of the government’s requirements of goods and services.
Implementation of the recommendations of the United Nations against corruption.
A joint program with the ADB-OECD organizations on the lines of the scheme originated by the Asia pacific region to eradicate corruption.
Making a request to those countries which have Trade relations with Sri Lanka and who have not signed with the OECD ‘s elimination of bribery proposals to become signatories thereto.
Withdrawing the existing measures against corruption which are weak and replacing them with a fool proof system with no loopholes.
Implementation of the provisions recommended in the Lima report
- Withdrawal of the conditions whereby Ministers, Parliamentarians, Government officials and representatives take refuge after illegal acceptance of gifts and donations.
- A system to legally bind those in public offices and their families to declare their assets and to show that they were legally acquired .
- Establishment of an Independent Authority to periodically investigate the wealth and assets position of those Officers in the higher rungs of the Government and of their families.
- New and stringent legislation to confiscate or impound the assets of those Ministers, Parliamentarians, officials of the State and those connected therewith who are found guilty of amassing wealth illegally and misappropriation of State assets.
- Providing adequate security to the witnesses and their families who come forth to give evidence.
- Introducing a scheme to record the gifts and presents received by Ministers, parliamentarians, and State officials
- Prohibiting Ministers, parliamentarians and State officials from receiving gifts and presents at all levels and tightening the laws against bribery and corruption. And totally forbidding those found guilty of these offenses to enter politics.
- A Commission to be set up to take up cases of bribery, corruption and frauds of Ministers, Parliamentarians and State officials on the model of the United States of America Justice dispensing Court Agencies.
This is UNP ‘s long term and primary plan to completely eradicate corruption in this country. We expect to further develop these remedies with the people’s ideas. People’s assistance and co-operation to rid this country of this scourge which has reached alarming proportions will therefore be of great value.
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Dramatic political development, President Mahinda Rajapaksa gave the green light for a National Govt
In yet another dramatic political development, President Mahinda Rajapaksa gave the green light for a National Government last Friday, an idea mooted by some senior UNP members.
By Kelum Bandara
A senior UNP politician representing the Kurunegala district had proposed the move to an erstwhile colleague who became a government minister in January.
The senior UNP politician had told the Minister there was no clear-cut approach adopted by the two major parties to resolve the national question, and that therefore they should make a fresh attempt at a solution. He had also requested the UNP reformist-turned Minister to work out necessary arrangements to strike a deal with the President in this endeavour.
In reply, the Minister had said he was also a fresher to the government and therefore he could take up the matter with Mr. Rajapaksa only if there was consent from the UNP hierarchy for such a proposal.
`I told the politician concerned to make the move with the consent of the UNP hierarchy. Then only, I can discuss it officially with the President,` he told the Daily Mirror yesterday.
Meanwhile, the President conveyed his willingness to form a National Government at a meeting he had last Friday with a minister who crossed over to the government from the UNP in January. Mr. Rajapaksa had requested the minister to convey his willingness to the UNPers who first mooted the idea.
The ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party signed an MoU with the main opposition United National Party last year to make a combined effort to resolve major problems confronting the nation today. However, the Opposition withdrew from it a few months later, following the crossover of 18 UNPers to the government.
Asked to comment on the new development, UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said the party had not yet received any official invitation from the government for such a move. Mr. Attanayake said he was totally in the dark about the matter, and therefore he was unable to comment on it. –Wijeya Newspapers
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LTTE bought weapons and Airplanes from Australia out of the 1000 million Rupees given by the Rajapakse brothers
At a special Media briefing at the UNP media centre, it was disclosed by UNP M.P. Lakshman Kiriella that on the basis of Former Minister Sri pathy Sooriayarachi’s statement in Parliament on April 4th 2007, “ the largest amount of money ever given to the LTTE in Sri Lanka’s history was by Gotabaya Rajapakse and Basil Rajapakse”: Rs. 200 million immediately before and Rs.800 million after the elections passed hands to the LTTE.
Former Minister Sri pathy Sooriayarachi’s statement in Parliament on April 4th 2007 – Refer full Video Click here… (200 mb)
Now, it has come to light that it is these monies the LTTE has utilized to purchase all their sophisticated arms and fighter planes from Australia, according to Dr. Rohan Gunaratne, International expert on Terrorist activity. These exposures had appeared in the Sri Lankan Newspapers too on April 05th 2007, he added.
Following these exposures by Dr. Gunaratne, the Australian Government has taken action against all those Australian sellers and manufacturers who supplied arms and weapons to the LTTE; a number of cases have been filed against them.
Lakshman Kiriella in the course of his speech stated that although the Opposition has asked for a special Parliamentary Committee to probe this, the Government has failed to grant it. The obvious inference from this is that the Government is guilty of these charges.
Now, the LTTE is using these very weapons bought out of money given by the Rajapakse Brothers, to attack our own forces., he emphasized.
Posted by Blogmailr – via unp.lk
Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said the government, by learning a lesson from Sri Lanka’s success at the Cricket World Cup tournament should use capable people to fight the LTTE while adding that this was essential to negotiate with the Tigers from a position of strength.
By Yohan Perera
Mr. Wickremesinghe who was the chief guest at the launch of the UNP website www.unp.lk at the Opposition Leader’s office said the Lankan cricket team had proved successful at the World Cup due to competent players like Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Wass, and likewise capable people should be appointed to key government positions for the sake of the country.
“We have everything here,” Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe says, referring to the UNP website during the launch yesterday, while Party Chairman Rukman Senanayake, General Secretary Tissa Attanayake, Treasurer Tilak Karunaratne and Media Unit Head Lakshman Kiriella look on. Pic. by Manoj Ratnayake
“If we put Sajeen Wass instead of Chaminda Wass, Sri Lanka cannot succeed in the World Cup,” he said in lighter vein.
Referring to the defence sector Mr. Wickremesinghe said competent persons should be put in charge of the country’s overall security. “The government has not been successful in defeating the LTTE as it claims. Therefore it will be in a weak position if it has to go for talks. It is essential for the government to be strong at the negotiating table. If not it will have to give in to the Tigers,” he said, defending his recent request to appoint Janka Perera as the Defence Secretary.
On the ongoing war with the LTTE, he said it was obviously being waged to gain political mileage rather than to combat terrorism. He said the Air Force was not ready to face LTTE air strikes and alleged that the SLAF did not have interceptors to destroy enemy aircraft, while the air surveillance radars and fire control radars gifted by India were not made use of.
Mr. Wickremesinghe stressed the need to set up air defence interceptor zones and stated that India had advised Sri Lanka to set up such zones. He said this had to be done by an Act of Parliament. “The UNP would have supported the government if it had acted upon it,” he pointed out.
He reminded that the UNP government of 1993 was able to secure Vakarai within eight hours when the LTTE was much stronger with Karuna too in its fold. “This government has taken days to secure Vakarai sacrificing hundreds of security personnel in a situation where the LTTE has been weakened by Karuna’s defection,” he charged.
via Wijeya Newspapers
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By Walter Jayawardhana
RANIL, MANGALA AND CHANDRIKA COALITION BEING CONTEMPLATED SAY ANALYSTS IN COLOMBO
United National Party (UNP) leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and Former Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera have simultaneously called for unity among those who want to protect democracy to counter what they have called “an emerging government tyranny.”
This has led to some political speculation that both groups and former President Chandrika Bandaranaika are attempting to come together in an alliance to launch an attack on the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Ranil Wickremesinghe said at the last United National Party special sessions held at Sirikotha, the party headquarters, that it is time for all those who love democracy should come forward and be united against the Rajapaksa Company, a reference to the government.
He further said even there are differences between those who love democracy those differences could be eventually narrowed if those people come together on a united platform.
Meanwhile the former Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera has told Colombo’s Daily Mirror newspaper that a unity is necessary encompassing United National Party elements and Sri Lanka Freedom Party elements together with former President Chandrika Bandaranaike.
The Daily Mirror newspaper said, “ Former Minister Mangala Samaraweera yesterday called on all democratic forces to come together to work against what he termed as `the emerging tyranny` in the country.”
Samaraweera said even though former President Chandrika Kumaratunga has expressed the view that she is not interested in politics there is room even for her in this coalition.
Despite Samaraweera’s denial, by all her activities and dealings the former President since day one after her Presidency ended has shown all proclivities to re-enter active politics.
Obviously angered by the new enmity created between him and his former friend, Mahinda Rajapaksa Samaraweera said that a small clique cannot be allowed to destroy democracy.
Colombo analysts said a link between the UNP and Samaraweera has been eased by the fact his close friend S. B. Dissanayaka is now the National Organizer of the United National Party. Like Dissanayaka, Samaraweera has also been an anti-war activist in the Sudu Nelum movement, funded by foreign NGO’s.
Their friendship was openly demonstrated during the crisis of Olympic medalist Susanthika Jayasinghe when the former Minister S. B. Dissanayaka was alleged to have been instrumental in lacing the urine samples of Jayasinghe with prohibitive drugs in retaliation of by her refusal of sexual favors to the Minister. Referring to his private life style and in contempt of the runner and inferring she is having a masculine physique Samaraweera openly said that if the allegations were against him, rather than against Dissanayaka who is supposed to be a ladies’ man, there could have been some credibility in the story. Since it was later proved the samples of urine were not sealed by the Ministry of Sports officials the runner was exonerated and proceeded to Olympics to win the country a medal after 52 years in the Olympic history.
During the crisis UNP led by Ranil Wickremesinghe promised a public inquiry but swept it under the carpet after S. B. Dissanayaka joined the UNP government. Jayasinghe made the sexual allegation in a Los Angeles Times interview made at Sydney, Australia.