Rajapaksa to discuss political situation with parties


Colombo : Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has invited all Tamil and Muslim political parties, including the pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance (TNA), for an interaction this week on the prevailing political situation in the island.

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“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,” the president’s office said here Tuesday.

The meeting assumes significance as the military campaign against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has reached a decisive phase and there is considerable interest in the government’s move to activate the political process to end the long-drawn ethnic strife.

According to reports, the four-party TNA, which has 22 members in the 225-member parliament, was yet to take a decision whether to participate in the meeting with the president scheduled for Thursday, though some of its MPs have expressed willingness to make good use this opportunity.

The military said that the Tamil Tigers, who are facing a multi-pronged military onslaught, have now been boxed into a mere 28 square km land area in the north-eastern Mullaitivu district.

Military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara told IANS Tuesday that the number of civilians fleeing the rebel-held areas by defying LTTE orders was on the rise and over 53,700 internally displaced people (IDPs) have already entered the government-held areas since the beginning of 2009.

These IDPs are temporarily housed in welfare centres and villages in the northern Vavuniya and Jaffna districts.

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