SLFP Presidential candidate Mahinda Rajapakse`s pledge to hold direct talks with LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran without the intervention of foreign facilitators drew mixed reactions from political parties yesterday.
The main opposition UNP charged the statement was meant to mislead the people in the South and called upon Mr. Rajapkse to come up with a clear-cut policy regarding the country`s national question without making such misleading statements.
UNP Assistant General Secretary Tissa Attanayake asked how the Prime Minister who was unable to make his stand clear regarding the P-TOMS, could solve a problem of this magnitude without a proper agenda.
?We should also know whether he got permission from the JVP before making such a statement. The UNP stands for a solution to the ethnic problem based on the Oslo-Tokyo declarations within a united Sri Lanka. We have already made it clear. Mr. Rajapakse`s statement is clearly aimed at misleading the Tamil people also,? he said.
?We do not think Mr. Prabhakaran will agree to talks without a proper agenda,? he said.
TNA MP Mavai Senadirajah said the Prime Minister could make numerous statements as the presidential candidate, but his party was willing to facilitate such talks with the LTTE leader.
?If Mr. Rajapakse is genuinely interested in talks, he should write to Mr. Prabhakaran and arrange it. We can facilitate the process,? he said.
JHU parliamentary group leader Ven. Athuraliye Ratana thera welcomed the move saying the agenda of the intended dialogue with the LTTE should be made public.
?It is commendable if he goes for talks without foreign facilitators. But he should reveal the strategy to disarm Tigers and the time frame for talks,? he said.
Dissident SLMC MP and Batticaloa District Development Minister Amir Ali also expressed similar sentiments saying talks between the principle parties involved in the conflict without peace brokers, would serve the intended purpose.