|Govt. move to resume talks with LTTE
Ratwatte complains of not being consulted
By Prasad Gunewardene
Minister of Power and Energy and Deputy Defence Minister Gen.Anuruddha Ratwatte expressed dissatisfaction over the move by the government to keep him in the dark on the decision to start unconditional talks with the LTTE this week,authoritative sources disclosed.
Sources said that a meeting of the ministers chaired by Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremenayake in the absence of President Chandrika Kumaratunga who is abroad on a private visit took a heated turn when Gen.Ratwatte complained that he was not consulted on the move to start talks with the LTTE.
The LTTE talks issue was taken up after routine matters were discussed.Foriegn Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar briefed the ministers about the government's decision and disclosed what he told at the media briefing he chaired on Monday regarding the matter.
Gen.Ratwatte who was sworn in as deputy defence minister after six weeks of the PA government's second term in office interrupted the Foreign Minister to complain he was kept in the dark on the issue.
Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremenayake pointed out that it was a decision taken by the President who was the chief executive and also the defence minister and such decisions could not be questioned and added that the ministers were free to express their opinion on those decisions."The President has carefully studied the issue and made her decision",the Prime Minister said.
Foreign Minister Kadirgamar thereafter briefed the ministers at length about the government's move to hold talks while fighting.
Media Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa intervened a few minutes later to back the position of the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister to say,"The decision has been taken by the Head of the Government and the country and therefore the duty of the ministers were to help the President".
A senior minister at this juncture pointed out that the PA government wanted to defeat the LTTE militarily and battled for six years and when the situation was assessed there had been more defeats than victories as Jaffna too almost fell back into the hands of the LTTE if not for the last minute effort of the President and the armed forces.
After the meeting ended and ministers discussed the issue outside in groups,a minority minister was heard saying that the war that was fought to gain victory was only in the Kandy District at the last general election and not in the North and East.
|FEATURES | OPINION | BUSINESS | EDITORIAL | CARTOON | SPORTS|