UNP- JHU talks hailed as a success

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The opposition UNP and the JHU had decided to continue dialogue in order to reach a consensus on the amendments to the 13th Amendment prior to the Northern Provincial Council Elections, during a meeting between the two parties today

In a groundbreaking move a high profile meeting between the United National Party and the Jathika Hela Urumaya was held yesterday to discuss the amendments to the 13th Amendment proposed by the UNP.

During the one and a half hour long dialogue held at UNP headquarters Sirikotha, the leaders of the two parties had exchanged views regarding the 13th Amendment, the new constitution proposed by the UNP and the MPs free vote.

Both parties hailed the discussion as a “success” and a “very positive start”.

Speaking to Daily Mirror UNP MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakhse said the UNP would study the proposals submitted by the JHU.

“It was a very constructive dialogue and was a very positive first step towards reaching a consensus. We will go through the proposals submitted by the JHU internally and then communicate our stand. The discussions were a big success and we will most certainly look forward to continuing the dialogue” he said.

MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakhse and Provincial Council Minister Udaya Gammanpila were appointed to coordinate the process in the future.

Ven. Athuraliye Rathana speaking to Daily Mirror said that the JHU explained its position regarding the 13th Amendment in depth to the UNP delegation.

“We explained to them the reasoning of the need for the amendments to the 13th Amendment and it was received well. We are open to discussion and believe that as the country’s main opposition their stance on this is vital. We are looking forward to the furtherance of this dialogue which was a good first step and a success,” he said.

The JHU had put forward five conditions regarding the amendments which include the repealing of powers for land, police and merger of provinces
The UNP was represented by its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, Tissa Attanayake, Joseph Michael Perera, Ravi Karunanayake and Wijeyadasa Rajapakhse, Gamini Jayawickerma Perera, and John Amarathunga.

The JHU was represented by its leader Ven. Omalpe Sobitha, Ven. Athuraliye Rathana, Minister Champika Ranawaka, Udaya Gammanpila, Nishantha Warnasinghe and central committee member M.C Jayarathne.

During the discussions the new constitution proposed by the UNP was also discussed together with the “free vote” issue whereby the JHU had urged the UNP leader to agree to proposals which provide MPs to vote according to their conscience and not toe a party line.

Western Provincial Council Minister Udaya Gammanpila said that the JHU and the UNP during the discussions were willing to be flexible upon constructive dialogue.

“This was a good start for all those concerned. We shared our honest views and look forward to continuing this dialogue and reach a consensus prior to the NPC elections,” he said. By Hafeel Farisz

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