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Harim eats humble pie
By Harinda Vidanage
On the orders of President Chandrika Kumaratunga, her media spokesman Harim Peiris has apologized to the LSSP and retracted his statement about the traditional left parties losing their place to the JVP.

Mr. Peiris has written to the LSSP's senior vice president Tissa Vitharana apologizing for a statement he made at a recent news conference in the backdrop of a difference between the SLFP and the LSSP over an ongoing dialogue with the JVP.

Mr. Peiris responding to a question at the news conference had said traditional left parties had lost their electoral strength as against the JVP and thus the SLFP was having talks with the JVP.

"I regret that there was a comparison of the relative electoral strengths of the older and traditional left parties and the JVP. This was inappropriate and is hereby retracted. I must reiterate the view of the President that the LSSP was and remains an invaluable and integral part of the PA and a key component of the progressive political forces in Sri Lanka," Mr. Peiris said.

The Sunday Times learns that President Kumaratunga had instructed Mr. Peiris to send a letter to the LSSP, apologizing for the offensive statement.

Meanwhile, the next round of talks between the SLFP and the JVP is scheduled for Thursday, with the PA General Secretary D.M. Jayaratne being invited but other PA parties had not yet been consulted. Though it was earlier decided to consult other PA parties before talks with the JVP, SLFP sources said constituent parties would be briefed after the talks.

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