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Sri Lankan opposition parties join gov’t reconciliation agenda – People’s Daily Online

[Xinhua, Thursday, 2 July 2009 21:01 No Comment]

All major opposition parties in Sri Lanka have heeded a government call to join its development and reconciliation effort in view of the end of the island’s long drawn-out civil war, government and party officials said Thursday.
The parties attended the All Party Committee for Development and Reconciliation chaired by President Mahinda Rajapakse Thursday morning.
The committee was convened by Rajapakse to discuss national reconciliation after the end of the military campaign against Tamil Tiger rebels, who had been fighting for an independent Tamil homeland in the north and east for more than two decades before being defeated in May.
Priorities on development and post rebel politics were to be discussed at the forum.
"Although we have not been told of any objectives of the meeting we will attend it because it deals with the development of the country," said Tissa Attanayake, the general secretary of the main opposition United National Party (UNP).
"We were given less than 24 hours notice. But it is a national issue," said Tilwin Silva, the general secretary of the third largest party JVP or the People’s Liberation Front.
Both the UNP and JVP had stayed away from Rajapakse’s all party conference convened with the objective of achieving southern political party consensus on the ethnic problem involving the Tamil minority.
The main Tamil party the Tamil National Alliance and the main Muslim party the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress also attended Thursday’s meeting.
The Sri Lankan government is grappling with the issue of nearly300,000 Tamil civilians displaced by the war between the government troops and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

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