Ranil - Karu talks fail
COLOMBO: Yesterday's make or break meeting between UNP Leader Ranil
Wickremasinghe and its former Deputy Karu Jayasuriya failed with the two
leaders refusing to compromise over burning issues. Senior UNP sources
said the talks, which did not last more than an hour, failed without the
duo reaching common ground to the issues that led to the current rift in
the party. Sources said they agreed to meet again but a date was not
fixed for a future meeting. The decisive meeting, between the Opposition
Leader and the dissident group chief, termed as an ultimate bid to
salvage the party by the political analysts, started around 6 yesterday
The Opposition Leader was to inform of his latest stance over the
reform proposals insisted by the dissidents at this formal exchange but
the actual contents of the talks agenda was not immediately known.
Nearly 20 UNP members are poised to cross over to the Government later
this month and reports indicated that many dissidents have confirmed
their cross-over even before yesterday's meeting at the UNP
Some of the members have expressed willingness to abandon the UNP
altogether and join the SLFP while the majority will extend their
support to the Government remaining as a separate group. The cross-overs,
if more than 21, could result in a demotion in the UNP's current
standing as the main Opposition.
UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake on Sunday said the meeting
would see Wickremesinghe seeking a direct clarification from Jayasuriya
if he would agree to work in accordance with the
Executive Committee decisions on the party reform proposals.
Government sources said the deal with the dissidents is already sealed
and the new Cabinet with the UNP members is to be sworn in before the
end of this month on an auspicious day.