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Politicians, businessmen hail SLFP, UNP consensus

Susil Premajayantha

Tissa Attanayake

Meanwhile Education Minister Susil Premajayantha commended the historic pledge made by the SLFP and the UNP to shed all political differences with the objective of achieving a long awaited goal.

"However, the aim of both parties are to find a lasting solution to the North -East problem for the betterment of the people in the country," he added. UNP, General Secretary Tissa Attanayake yesterday welcomed the decision taken by the country's two oldest political parties, the UNP and the SLFP to work together for the common good of the country and its people.

Speaking to the `Sunday Observer", Attanayake said that even the general masses will extend their gratitude towards these two main parties for joining even at the crucial moment with a sole objective of bringing a lasting solution to the decades old ethnic conflict.

"This new political culture will definitely bring a fruitful results to six key issues of national importance as they will directly benefit the people in the country," he said.

He said among these key issues, both parties are expected to focus much attention towards the most important ethnic issue and the economic development in the country.

"Without seeing any development in these two sectors, we cant move further as a proud nation,"

Muthu Sivalingam, Minister, Ceylon Workers Congress:

That the two main parties of this country have arrived at a consensus to work together can be considered on historical event. Yet, I wish to appeal to the SLFP and the UNP to make clear their stance on two important matters.

1. The United National Party has long been advocating a Federal solution to the national conflict. Its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe campaigned the last Presidential election with that pledge. But, as far as I know, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party has never acknowledged a Federal solution. What would be the position of the two parties on this issue?

2. I have reservations about the electoral reforms which the government is planning to introduce in the near future. Such move will have adverse effects on the representation of the minority communities in the parliament. If amendments are made and the new electorate system brought in, it will severely affect the plantation community. It can lead to a position where only the two main parties predominate the parliamentary representation.

N. Raviraj, Parliamentarian, Tamil National Alliance:

It is a very positive move because I am of the view that these two parties are responsible for the present situation of the country. They are the ones who have been ruling this country since the independence.

Therefore, by aligning together, they can come at a common settlement for the national issue. We look upon this move with a lot of hope. They should resolve the national conflict by talking with the LTTE. At this moment, I appeal to the other parties, especially the JVP and the JHU, to follow the suit of the UNP and join along with the government in order to achieve peace.

P.Chandrasekaran, Minister, Leader, Up-Country Peoples Front :

I am not aware as to what was discussed in the meeting between the SLFP and UNP. What matters most is the motive behind the union of the two main parties. If all the national parties would join hands and strive for peace through negotiation, the Up-Country Peoples Front will welcome such a move. But the coalition should not lead to a destructive war.

Navaz Rajabdeen, President FCCISL

This is a positive, bold and patriotic decision taken by Deputy Leader of UNP Karu Jayasuriya. Deciding to support the government at this stage he has demonstrated his positive thinking, but a few in the party are opposing this move.

The business community welcomes this move and we all will support it. If major parties are for peace and development all other minor parties will fall in line. FCCISL believes that this alliance should have been formed earlier but better late than never.

A. K. Ratnarajah - Chairman, Ceylon National Chamber of Industries (CNCI),

The CNCI welcomes the positive move by the two major parties to work on a common agenda for peace and prosperity in the country.

If the two major parties could come together and resolve the burning issues it would be a landmark achievement to the country.

The chamber looks forward to see peace, stability and the country being placed on a solid growth path towards achieving economic prosperity for all people.There cannot be any growth without developing basic infrastructure facilities such as roads, highways, ports, power generation and other vital sectors.

There should be a healthy opposition to express views on all issues relating to the welfare of the people.

Jayanath Perera Chairman, Sri Lanka Shippers' Council

Development of the country's infrastructure could not take place due to party politics that has been there since independence. If not for party divisions infrastructure development would have taken place and the country would have been much better than what it is today.

If there is a national plan it would be the best for the country. The shipping industry is being badly affected due to the poor road system. The delay in commencing development work on the Colombo South Harbour is leading to Sri Lanka losing its hub status, Jayanath said.

Sanath Imbulamurai, A marketing analyst,

The performance of the Stock Market has been positive with the initiative taken by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to invite the opposition to work on a common agenda. The collaboration between the two major parties would eliminate political division and focus on national interests.

Asst. Manager People's Bank, Headquarters, Channa Weerasinghe It would be good if both parties could be honest since we cannot trust their motives. The decision taken by the two major parties to work towards building the country is welcoming.

Crishantha Hettiarachchi, Managing Director, Foto focus,

The country has been backward in development because of the party politics. If the two major parties could come together and work on a common agenda then the country will be on a growth path. If the two parties turn out to be dictatorial then the country may have to suffer greater consequences.

A Managing Director of a leading garment industry, Daya Pathirana

The time has come to put an halt to the division in the country.



Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service

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