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Sunday, 10 July 2011

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Government Gazette

Week in PARLIAMENT

Consensus urged on national issues

The Government once again showed its utmost commitment in Parliament to find a lasting solution to the national question and stressed the importance of creating an extensive dialogue among all political parties to address this issue irrespective of petty political differences.

The Government's sincere efforts to resolve the national question was clearly elaborated in the House following the remarks made by Leader of the House Irrigation and Water Management Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva responding to the adjournment motion moved by the TNA Parliamentary Group Leader R. Sampanthan who requested the Government to address the core issues of the conflict and to evolve an acceptable political solution.

Minister Silva explaining the government's stance informed the House the Government is not ready to accept any solution thrust upon Sri Lanka by the international forces. The Government will not take decisions due to pressure exerted by the international community. Whatever political solution provided to the national question should be an acceptable one to all the communities in the North and the South. The Minister told the House that a political solution cannot be given overnight as claimed by the UNP and stressed the importance of conducting extensive discussions with all political parties.

He said the UNP does not have positive thinking to evolve a process to resolve this issue. If the UNP is not willing to join hands to resolve the national question, that means the UNP needs to drag this problem without resolving.

Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne who moved the motion to extend the emergency regulations informed the House that the significant progress achieved by the Government's peace and reconciliation efforts has resulted in a large number of Tamil people who went abroad due to LTTE terrorist activities returning to Sri Lanka.

Construction and Engineering Services Minister Wimal Weerawansa who joined the emergency debate said it is not easy to re-commence the lives of the people in the North as some in Colombo think. The Government is creating the necessary environment conducive to hold the Local Government election in the North. He also warned the attempts made by certain elements to disrupt link between the people and the Security Forces in the North. A certain group has undertaken the contract to create a conflict atmosphere in Sri Lanka when the Human Rights Commission is going to be meet in Geneva in September.

The issue of cricket once again turned into a hot topic in the House when Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage responded to queries raised by the Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga. The Minister who categorically denied the claims made by the Opposition informed the House that cricket has not collapsed or been politicised as the Opposition alleges. The Minister who talked about the international ranking of cricket said Sri Lankan has been able to maintain second place in one day internationals and forth place in Tests. The Minister citing an example said if Sri Lanka cricket has been politicised, Sanath Jayasuriya would have been in the World Cup team. He urged the Opposition MPs not to politicise sports.

Rizana's case was highlighted in the House due to an oral question raised by MP Jayasekera. Foreign Employment Promotion Minister Dilan Perera who responded to the MP said both the Government and the Opposition have engaged in a process to save the life of Rizana. However, the Minister said there is a certain group which is waiting until Rizana's life is in danger to take political advantage.

UNP National List MP Dr. Harsha de Silva who joined the debate on the supplementary estimate of Rs. 20 billion for the operational activities of the Defence Ministry praised the remarks made by the UPFA National List MP Prof. Rajiva Wijesinghe in the BBC Hard Talk program. Dr. Silva commended the President for appointing an intellectual like Prof. Rajiva Wijesinghe as a MP from the UPFA National List.

The MP in his speech informed the House as an Opposition Parliamentarian he has never criticised the Armed Forces or undermined the victory achieved by the Armed Forces.

Dr. Silva in his speech explained how the Parliamentarians should act and comment with responsibility on matters relating to the country's national interest. The MP citing an example said when Darusman report was released, he had gone to US to get the Eisenhower Award. General Colin Powell had requested him to speak about the alleged human rights violations committed by the Sri Lankan Security Forces.

The MP explained how he rejected that invitation and categorically denied the claims made. The audience has highly applauded by the comment made by the MP. The MP said all should appreciate the role of the Armed Forces to safeguard the country from the clutches of LTTE terrorism.

Senior Minister for the International Monitary Cooperation Dr. Sarath Amunugama who responded to certain remarks made by the Opposition MPs at the debate on the supplementary estimate of Rs.20 billion for the construction of a building to the Defence Ministry commented on the lack of practical knowledge of some MPs. He told the House the Government will construct an Army Headquarters similar to Pentagon.

External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris commented on the appointment of military personnel to diplomatic postings following a statement made by the Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga. Prof Peiris said he was amazed the statement made by Amaratunga that Sri Lanka's interests are jeopardized due to the appointment of military personnel to diplomatic posts.

The Minister said these top military brass have made a yeoman service to the country by defeating terrorism. He explained how Major General Shavendra Silva courageously faced and exposed the deficiencies of the Channel 4 video footage in New York.

The issue of importing substandard petrol was also highlighted in the House due to a special statement made by DNA MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake.

The MP queried whether the Government planned to compensate the owners of vehicles damaged due to low quality fuel. Petroleum Industries Minister Susil Premajayantha informed the House the filling stations damaged by pumping inferior quality petrol would be repaired by the Government free of charge while the Government is willing to grant compensation for those affected by petrol impurity crisis.

 

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