President to meet Tamil and Muslim political parties

(March 24 Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has summoned a meeting of all Tamil and Muslim political parties, including the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), on March 26 for an interaction on the prevailing political situation.

The invitation has been sent to all Tamil and Muslim political parties that are represented in parliament at present, and those that have been represented in parliament earlier.

Political sources say this meeting assumes importance as the military campaign against the LTTE has reached a decisive phase and there is considerable interest on the government’s moves to activate the political process for resolution of the ethnic conflict.

The President has been consistent in stating that he does not believe in imposing any political solution but would be interested in knowing the views of all political parties for the purpose of arriving at a consensus on any set of proposals.

President Rajapaksa has already begun implementing recommendations of the interim report of All Party Representative Conference (APRC) constituted by him to help find a political solution to the ethnic conflict.

At a function held yesterday at the Presidential Secretariat to announce the resumption of the Yale Devi train service to the Jaffna peninsula, President Rajapaksa said he had asked the Minister of Transport to run the Yale Devi train service at least five more kilometers beyond Vavuniya by April 23, the anniversary of the day this service was launched in 1956. The service was stopped in June 1990 after repeated LTTE attacks on it.

“It would show our resolve for co-existence. What we are attempting now is to breathe new life into the heart of the nation; to start the journey that would unite the entire nation after 19 years,” he said.

He called upon India, China, Pakistan, Japan and other countries that helped in the fight against terrorism to come forward and assist in reconstruction so that terrorism would not be able to raise its head again. “I have decided to rebuild the Jaffna station employing people of my own village, Hambantota. Engineers, masons, carpenters etc. from Hambantota would go and rebuild the Jaffna station. Likewise people from other districts should contribute and participate to build the other stations,” he said.
-Sri Lanka Guardian