2002 ceasefire deal stopped the war: Ranil
With a close race, if not a photo-finish, likely in the presidential election, UNP leader and candidate Ranil Wickremesinghe told The Sunday Times his main rival had failed to present a credible alternative to the federal solution proposed by the UNP.

Mr. Wickremesinghe in a wide-ranging interview said if the LTTE was approached with suspicion, it might go back to its demand for a separate state in contrast to its agreement to explore the possibility of working out a federal solution within a united Sri Lanka.

“Should we not dicuss this option with the LTTE and what shape it would take. If we say the LTTE is not keen on a federal structure then what option do we have?” Mr. Wickremesinghe asked.

Focusing on positives, Mr. Wickremesinghe said the 2002 ceasefire agreement had stopped the war and President Chandrika Kumaratunga was praising it while UPFA candidate Mahinda Rajapakse who earlier threatened to cancel the agreement was now saying he wanted it amended.

He said the ceasefire agreement provided a solid foundation for a peaceful solution and the country must proceed from that point and achieve permanent peace.

Mr. Wickremesinghe said the safety net he had worked out was not a measure against the LTTE but intended to obtain the support of the international community for the peace process and rebuilding and development of Sri Lanka.

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