The government said today that the State of Emergency would be lifted immediately; however there would be no affect to the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). Speaking at the Cabinet Press Briefing last afternoon Minister of Environment Anura Priyadarshana Yapa stated that the President and Cabinet had taken this decision after months of consideration and not due to pressure from any external sources.
“We did not succumb to pressure from India; everyone knows that this government does not get pressurised by outside forces. The President realised that we did not need emergency rule in the country any longer and the decision to remove it was considered many months before,” he said.
When questioned on what would happen to the PTA he stated that the Emergency regulations and PTA were separate entities. However he declined to comment on the status of those being held under emergency or the PTA and said the question was best directed at the Attorney General.
Answering a question on the halting of discussions with the Tamil National Alliance he stated that the government was always ready for discussions. “However I don’t think anyone would be interested in walking into discussions with prearranged conditions,” he said. He further stated that it had been decided that the Parliamentary Select Committee would decide on the best course of action and that Parliament was the best place to decide on matters of this nature. (Dianne Silva