pulls out of joint opposition statement
By Harinda Vidanage
A fresh crisis emerged in the PA yesterday when one of the senior
constituent parties announced it was dissociating itself from the
joint opposition statement on the peace talks and the LTTE's temporary
pullout. LSSP leader Batty Weerakoon said his party had not been
given sufficient time to read the statement and therefore did not
He said the
statement had been hurriedly drafted and he believed the opposition
should have waited till the government officially responded to the
Mr. Weerakoon said his party believed that instead of commenting
on a whole lot of matters and confusing the situation, the PA could
have addressed key issues such as the activity in Sri Lanka's territorial
waters, the government's inability to deal with the LTTE in negotiations,
and its failure to maintain proper relations with the President.
The joint statement was signed by the SLFP, the JVP, the MEP, the
NUA, the EPDP and the PLOTE among others.
service chiefs hit out at SLMM
By Chris Kamalendran
Former service chiefs have reacted angrily to Sri Lanka Monitoring
Mission chief Tryggve Teleffsen's proposal that the government "recognise
the LTTE Sea Tigers as a de facto naval unit and demarcate areas
at sea for live firing exercise by them.
Former Navy Comm-ander Cecil Tissera said the country could not
have more than one Navy.
are no two states in Sri Lanka. Therefore this question does not
arise. We should not even consider such a proposal. Nowhere in the
world have we seen one country having two navies." Vice Admiral
Tissera said the SLMM had no right to interfere in the internal
affairs of Sri Lanka.
force Chief Harry Gunethilake said the Delft and Mullaitivu incidents
had apparently prompted the SLMM to make this proposal but there
was only one Navy and the sea could not be demarcated.
He said the
Tamils had a right to monitor the Indian fishing boats in Mannar
and Thalimanar but it had to be done jointly with the navy. Former
Army Comm-ander Hamilton Wanasinghe accused the SLMM of playing
a double role.
came as observers but now they are acting as agents. It is the Navy
which has to control the Sri Lanka territorial waters. If we accept
the proposal, it will be a violation not only of our constitution
but also of international laws.
not the SLMM's duty to advise us to accept the Sea Tiger as a legal
force. The navy has the freedom to operate whereever it wants. If
we recognise the Sea Tigers as a de facto naval unit, it will be
like having two countries and two navies," he said.
Retired DIG H.M.G.B. Kotakedeniya said that the Sri Lanka Army has
already gone to the level of the LTTE by shaking hands with uniformed
accept the Sea Tigers as a de facto naval unit, the Navy would be
brought to the level of the Tigers." He said he was totally
opposed to the proposals of the SLMM which came as a monitor and
was now trying to be a mediator.
King returns with theme park plan
Controversial casino king Joe Sim who was asked to leave the country
made a comeback last week, promising huge investments in Sri Lanka.
Mr. Sim who left Sri Lanka in 1991 on a removal order of the Premadasa
government, now says he wants to build a theme park, a Disneyland
of sorts, in Sri Lanka. Ironically the man who was asked to leave
by a UNP government, claims that he returned on the invitation of
the present UNF Government to boost the tourism industry.
The theme park
which is to be on a 350 acre land has been chosen close to the airport
and the new highway. Promising 10,000 jobs for the rural people,
Mr. Sim claims that the theme park will be like the parks in Los
Angeles, France and Japan. The theme park with a swimming pool,
shopping complex, restaurants and mini cinema will also include
Mr. Sim who
came to Sri Lanka as a gem merchant in the late '70s, emerged as
one of the top foreign business magnates in Sri Lanka with the backing
of politicians of the 1988 UNP government. Commenting on his comeback,
Mr. Sim said that he was never deported in 1991 but was only asked
was deported how can I return to the country?" he asked. Meanwhile
Tourism Minister Gamini Lokuge told The Sunday Times that although
Mr. Sim was asked to leave the country during the UNP regime, he
was welcome again as an investor. "We will not permit any person
with ulterior motives to invest in the country. We have identified
three sites in Balapitya, Beruwela and Marawila for tourism purposes,"
Minister Lokuge said.
groups want peace
A group of women's organisations have appealed to the Government
and the LTTE to resume peace talks in order to arrive at a peaceful
political solution putting an end to the 20-year-long conflict.
came from fifteen women's organisations following the LTTE's decision
to temporarily withdraw from the negotiating table last Monday.
The organisations drew attention to the sufferings experienced by
the people, particularly in the North and the East due to the protracted
war.The organisations also called upon other individuals and institutions
in support of peace to join hands in raising their voices to coax
the Government and the LTTE to resume suspended talks. While progress
made thus far has been commendable, the organisations urged that
continuing to seek a peaceful solution was imperative.
going to north
The Prime Minister's secretary, Bradman Weerakoon, is to meet Jaffna
Government Agent S Pathmanathan and other officials today to expedite
resettlement programmes and rehabilitation of people in the North.
a few days after the LTTE pulled out of the peace talks and the
rehabilitation sub committee, complaining that the government was
not implementing relief measures.