National govt needed to withstand meddling by international community - Kiriella

By Saman Indrajith

It wouldn’t have been possible to address Sri Lanka’s problems including the ethnic issue and withstand foreign pressure without a national government, Leader of the House University Education and Highways Minister Lakshman Kiriella said yesterday.

Addressing a press conference at the Parliamentary complex, the minister said that the international community would not be able to meddle with internal affairs of the country as long as the two main parties stayed together.

"Some try to describe the national government in power as something new. It is not so. During our campaigns we told people of this and asked them to vote for us. The public endorsed it. The people have given us a mandate for a government made up of a President from the SLFP and a Prime Minister from the UNP. When we won the election we had 107 seats. We could have formed a government. Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga once formed a government with only 105 seats. Then there were around 15-20 SLFP MPs who were willing to join the government. We took them in and they are working with us together today. There are some more who have expressed their willingness to come. We have no intention of taking any more. There is no need for that.

"Our main aim is to formulate the main framework and policies for the development of the country so that there would be no change in policies whenever there is a change of government."

The Minister said that the two main parties should be held responsible for the country’s unsolved problems. "The north east crisis took a turn for the worse because the two main parties played politics with it. In 1956, there was only the language issue and the Tamils were asking only for the parity of status. When one party tried to grant it the other opposed. So, the problem persisted. We must unite and try to find answers and we need to make a genuine effort."

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