|Saturday, 10 January 2004|
PM's decision aimed at carrying forward peace process: GL
by Ranil Wijayapala
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's decision to relinquish responsibilities towards the Ceasefire Agreement was aimed at carrying forward the peace process without any stagnation, Cabinet spokesman Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris said yesterday.
Addressing the weekly Cabinet press briefing, Prof. Peiris said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe no longer holds necessary powers to fulfil obligations of the Ceasefire Agreement, though he holds the responsibilities towards implementation of the Agreement.
The powers vested with the Prime Minister at the time of the signing of the ceasefire agreement are no longer with him following the President's action to takeover the three Ministries on November 4 last year, he said.
"If the President insists on the three Ministries, she should take the responsibility of fulfilling obligations of the ceasefire agreement," Prof. Peiris said.
"The Government is no longer interested in the three Ministries but we want the peace process to go forward," he added.
Responding to a question whether the Government would sign the MoU with the LTTE if the Prime Minister had not been given powers over Defence, Prof. Peiris said certain sections of the MoU would not have been included if the President did not give Defence powers to the Government.
He said the Prime Minister should have control over Armed Forces, Police and prisons if he is to fulfil the Ceasefire Agreement obligations.
Since the President has taken control over the Armed Forces, Police and the Prisons, she should take action to amend relevant sections of the Ceasefire Agreement after consulting the Norwegian facilitators and renegotiating with the LTTE, Prof. Peiris added.
"The President should take this matter with the LTTE," he added.
Asked whether the Government has closed the dialogue with the President to settle the matter, Prof. Peiris said the Government was always available to have a dialogue in this regard.
"If the President continues to insist that the Prime Minister should carry forward the peace process there should not be impediments in his way," Prof. Peiris said.
He said the donor community is set to have a review meeting on the peace process on January 23 with the arrival of Japanese Peace Envoy to Sri Lanka Yasushi Akashi to confirm their pledged aid to the country.
Prof. Peiris said the country has already been deprived a tranche of US $ 80 million over the decision to postpone the IMF meeting scheduled for December 5 last year.
Produced by Lake House