ISGA: CBK may bypass Parliament
JVP expresses strong opposition amidst signs of revolt
President Chandrika Kumaratunga has offered to study ways of bypassing Parliament and use her constitutional powers to meet the Tiger guerrilla demand for an Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA).

However, such 'interim political measures' she emphasized in a broadcast to the nation last night should be "within the contours of the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the country."

First indications of President Kumaratunga showing flexibility towards the LTTE demand to "implement the ISGA" proposals emerged during a meeting with the TNA at the Janadipathi Mandiraya on Thursday night.

She told the Tamil parliamentarians she was willing to talk on the ISGA proposals in as far as it served as a mechanism for handling finances and development activities in the North and East - a recommendation made two weeks ago by donor Co chairs as a means to restart direct negotiations.

She is learnt to have pointed out that she as President, could establish such a mechanism, as long as it was within Sri Lanka's sovereignty and territorial integrity, without even recourse to Parliament.

For that, she had pointed out, she could invoke powers vested in her in accordance with the Constitution. The provisions cited was section 33 . In terms of this section, inter alia, the President is empowered to keep the "Public Seal", such grants and dispositions of lands and immovable property vested in the Republic "as he/she is by law required or empowered to do…."

President Kumaratunga's official statement on the UPFA government's position on the LTTE demand for an Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA) and the peace talks was made in a broadcast to the nation last night. The recorded address went on TV and radio hours after President Kumaratunga took an Emirates Airways flight to Dubai en route to London on a private visit. She is expected to be away for nearly two weeks.

In the speech, which was released to the media early yesterday, the President said her government and the LTTE "have not yet reached agreement" on how to proceed.

Even before the text of her address to the nation was released, the major constituent partner of the UPFA, the JVP had decided to strongly oppose any moves by the government to discuss the ISGA proposals with the LTTE.

The JVP's politburo met in emergency session on Friday night to take the decision. Whilst deciding not to support any moves for a discussion on the ISGA, the politburo has decided to take what JVP sources only described as "extreme action" if its wishes were not heeded. These sources did not elaborate what this "extreme action" meant and refused to comment when asked whether it would amount to the JVP quitting the UPFA.

In her address to the nation President Kumaratunga said the LTTE would like the talks to focus only on proposals to set up an Interim Authority. This was while her government has indicated the need to engage in discussions on a permanent solution to the conflict whilst "prioritizing the need" to agree on the structures of the Interim Authority.

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