Govt. will not dance to Opposition’s tune – Yapa

Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said that Government could not dance to the whims and fancies of the Opposition and do away with Emergency Laws or the Prevention of Terrorism Act barely a week after the LTTE had been crushed militarily.

It would consider easing Emergency Laws or the PTA when time comes, he said, briefing the local media on the Government’s position on the current issues.

The Minister said that the Government was not ready to accept nor found any need of the support of UNP for national reconciliation as stated by Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. The people were with the Government and it would not worry about not accepting the support of opportunistic parties as the UNP. "The people had supported the Government though the UNP had not".

If the UNP was so keen to extend the support to the Government, they should first extend a public apology to the Secretary, Defence as well as Army Commander for the mud slinging campaign they carried out with allegations of corruption and incompetency.

The Minister said that there were discrepancies in the number of IDPs who sought refuge under the Government. At present there are altogether 214,387 persons belonging to 65,347 families in Vavuniya.

The Government wants to restore democracy in the North by holding elections and carrying out development as it did in the East and the Government is committed to presenting a solution that would be acceptable to the Tamil people very soon.

Of the 9100 LTTE cadres who had surrendered to the Government, 7500 were being rehabilitated while the balance 1600 were being interrogated to gather further information into the terrorist organisation and establish the part played by these cadres

In answer to questions from journalists, the Minister said that there were certain limits to where a Government could grant access to UN Agencies, the ICRC and INGOs to enter Relief villages. "Surely one cannot have a few hundred people walking round the camps without any meaning. We can see how we can relax this restriction as time goes by and at present, we are firm that all assistance should be channelled through the Government".

Now that the problem that the International community was concerned about as minimising casualties among IDPs and the need for Government to halt using heavy weapons has been solved with the defeat of the LTTE it is up to the International community to come forward and assist the Government in the development of the Northern Province and resettle the IDPs without any undue delay, the Minister said.

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