Mr. Mangala Samaraweera is expected to return to the cabinet in the short term with many of the matters in dispute between himself and the president now in the process of being sorted out, well informed governmental sources said yesterday.
Western Province Governor Alavi Mowlana who played a major role in mediating on this dispute said that `the situation has been defused,` and Samaraweera, who met the president a few days ago, will have another meeting with Rajapakse.
`Other matters will be sorted out,` the governor said.
Other sources said that Samraweera has laid down several conditions for his return to the government fold and these include the reinstatement of Mr. Sripathy Sooriarachchi, now on bail on charges of misuse of state property, to his former positions of non-cabinet minister and deputy minister.
Samaraweera has also demanded that the harassment of his close associates including Mr. Tiran Alles be stopped forthwith.
While most political sources expect Samaraweera to return to his Ports and Shipping Ministry which the president is holding for the time being, they regard it unlikely that he will get the Foreign Affairs portfolio he held earlier.
Asked what the position was on these matters, Mowlana said that the question of portfolios has not been discussed. He also said that he was unaware of Samaraweera laying down any conditions in a letter some sources said the former minister had written to the president.
`I don`t know anything at all about that,` Mowlana said. `Neither the president nor Mangala has told me anything about any such matter.`
Meanwhile Senior Minister Sarath Amunugama has in his newspaper column presented Samaraweera`s return to government as a fait accompli.
Commenting on a `bad week` just passed for the country in his regular newspaper column, Amunugama referred to Sri Lanka losing the World Cup final and the LTTE`s aerial adventure the previous Saturday that resulted in panic, particularly in the airport, showing that the country needed to get its act together.
`Perhaps with Mangala coming back, someone could put a stop to the amateurish way in which affairs are handled in our airport,` he said.