GL: China sidelined; SL now a junior partner of powerful western bloc

Dinesh appointed Leader of Joint Opposition


by Zacki Jabbar

Having sidelined China the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government had become a junior partner in a powerful bloc of western countries, former Foreign Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris charged yesterday.

"Sri Lanka is now taken for granted having entered an alliance dominated by big nations as junior partner," Prof. Peiris told a news conference which had been summoned to  announce the appointment of Dinesh Gunawardena MP as leader of the "Joint Opposition" comprising a section of the SLFP led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP), Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP), Communist Party (CP), Democratic Left Front (DLF), the National Freedom Front and Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU).

The Ex-Foreign Minister said that the government had neither accepted nor rejected the USD 1.4 billion Colombo Port City Project leading to confusion and loss of investor confidence. "The Prime Minister, the Finance Minister and the Ports Minister are saying different things. While one states that a partnership with China is essential another wants the agreement amended. Yet another says it should be scrapped. The suspension of the project has led to the country suffering losses running into millions of rupees. It is high time the powers that be took a principled stand and maintained consistency".

Sri Lanka had not received any tangible benefit from its so-called friends. In contrast Mahinda Rajapaksa had a good relationship with all countries and received a lot of assistance from them, Prof. Peiris claimed.

National Freedom Front MP Jayantha Samaraweera, quoting Janatha Sevaka Party leader Somawansa Amerasinghe, alleged that JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake and three others had been appointed agents of the UNP.

The JVP, he said claimed to be in the Opposition, but was actually carrying out a contract for the government.

Paddy, tea and rubber farmers had been left in the lurch, Samaraweera alleged.

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