|Sunday, 12 January 2003|
|Politics||Today's Top Story|
Independent Muslim group to join peace talks
by P. Krishnaswamy
An independent delegation representing the Muslims will join the ongoing Government-LTTE peace talks at the appropriate stage, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Leader and Minister Rauff Hakeem told the Sunday Observer yesterday as he prepared to hold the annual Delegates' Conference of the SLMC to deal with the crisis within the party.
The rival SLMC faction led by Highways Minister A.L.M. Athaullah has already held what it claiams to be the Annual Delegates' Conference, last month.
However, SLMC leader Hakeem is going ahead with arrangements for a Delegates' Conference in Colombo this morning after an enjoining Court order against today's conference, sought by the Athaullah faction, was rejected by the Colombo High Court.
Speaking about the internal crisis within the SLMC, Minister Hakeem said that he was continuing to hold out the olive branch to the dissidents. He said that he was optimistic of a reconciliation with the dissidents since efforts in that direction were being made.
' We offered an opportunity to them to return to the party without any conditions or punishments but they have complicated matters by going to Court and holding separate meetings', he added.
Minister Hakeem will be in the chair when the SLMC Delegates' Conference opens today at 11.00 a.m. at the auditorium of the Mahapola Training Centre in Colombo to elect the party leader and office-bearers for the current year and to pass important resolutions, according to a communique received from the party office.
The Athaulla faction of the SLMC which held its own Delegates' Conference in Akkaraipattu last month elected some new members to the party High Command. The Athaullah faction had earlier unseated Hakeem as SLMC leader and elected S. Subairdeen Hadjiyar in his place.
Produced by Lake House