‘Thai talks not about peace but holding carnivals in North’
Peace without ‘Eelam’ must be number one priority at talks — CBK

By Divaina corr. Upali de Saram

President Chandrika Kumaratunga on Sunday said although she is not against peace, she is against selling the country in the name of peace with the sole intention of holding on to power.

Addressing the All Island Samurdhi Animators Association at the Vihara Maha Devi Park on Sunday President Kumaratunga said that peace from the talks with the LTTE should come after they fulfil certain conditions.

The President said: First the LTTE should pledge that they renounce ‘Eelam’. They should also promise to lay down arms, stop killing Sinhala people and stop harassing civilians in the North-East. Therefore I informed the government that a peace without Eelam should receive top priority in the agenda for talks.

But there is not even an agenda for the talks held by this government. When I asked about the peace talks from the Prime Minister he told me that they will first talk about festivals to be held in the North when peace dawns. At the same time developing North and the East will also be discussed. Therefore the discussions in Thailand is not about bringing peace to the country. Its about holding carnivals in the North.

I also believe that Samurdhi should be stopped. But it should be done after elevating the living standards of the poor people. I am against reducing welfare benefits at a time when the cost of living is high and people are facing a lot of difficulties. The government is saying they are reducing welfare benefits because the government is in a financial crisis. But powerful government ministers have enough money to go on foreign trips. People and my MPs are telling me that I have been silent too long. I also have understood it. Therefore I expect to take action against the wrong doings of the government in the future.