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DateLine Wednesday, 04 April 2007

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All MPs have a responsibility to work unitedly - Ranil

KOTTE: Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday told Parliament that as peoples' representatives all MPs have a joint responsibility to work unitedly to protect the public from the present crisis.

Making a special statement in Parliament on the Katunayake Air Force base attack, Wickremesinghe said: "We all agreed to a political solution to country's ethnic problem. The SLFP-UNP MoU was a significant landmark that was meant to reach a consensus among the main political parties.

If this programme was carried out the Katunayake Air Force camp attack and the resultant major blows to tourism, foreign investment and the Share Market would have been prevented. What the Government did was to shirk this golden opportunity for the sake of its short term dream of a Parliamentary majority."

Wickremesinghe said the air attack came at a time the Government was claiming military victories. At the time of this attack, the Defence Secretary had said that the LTTE has been driven away from the Eastern Province by neutralising their war machine.

The Government had stated that they are well aware about the LTTE's Air Force and their runaways. If that is so, how did the LTTE launch this kind of air attack, he asked.

It is regrettable fact that no authority from the Defence Minister to the Air Force Commander has taken responsibility for this and shirked their duty by the people.

"It is a joke to state that the two LTTE aircraft were able to safely return to the Wanni due to the failure of the radar system. It is very clear that the main camp which sends aircraft to attack the enemy is in a very vulnerable position."

The Opposition leader said the present Radar system is a donation by India. It is questionable why the Government did not repair the radar system using the funds allocated from the previous budget. What the Government did was to invest money on an international airline service without spending money to upgrade the radar system. The entire nation has to pay for the lapse of the Government.

As the Opposition Leader, I requested for Parliament to be summoned to inform the public as to who was responsible for this tragic situation.

We have lot of questions to ask and matters to be clarified on this incident. At least the Government would have summoned Parliament in the name of good governance and transparency.

He said the Government says in public that it is for a political solution, but has selected war as an alternative to completely eradicate the LTTE. This alternative has now been challenged following the Katunayake attack.

Wickremesinghe said after this air attack, the international community has not extended its support to the Government to continue the war alternative. The Government has lost the support of the international community. It has failed to safeguard the human rights of its people, the Opposition Leader said.


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