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DateLine Tuesday, 22 January 2008

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APRC proposals need of the hour - Rajitha

The All Party Representatives Committee (APRC) proposals which are to be unveiled tomorrow had got the backing of all parties which had attended the deliberations, Construction Minister Rajitha Senaratne said yesterday.

"Enforcing the package will not run into difficulties as some parties suggest. It is the duty of all who value democracy to ensure that it goes through," Minister Senaratne told a UNP-D group news conference.

The APRC will be handed over to President Mahinda Rajapaksa by APRC Chairman Prof. Tissa Vitarana tomorrow.

Senaratne said the political proposal was a must to convince the international community and the Tamil diaspora regarding the Government's sincerity in achieving a political solution to the ethnic conflict. He hinted that power devolution envisaged by the APRC would be similar to the Indian model.

Making a scathing attack on the contribution of the UNP leadership towards realising the APRC's goal, Senaratne said the UNP should contribute constructively without indulging in petty politics in consideration of the greater good of the Nation.

The Minister voiced confidence that 2008 would be the year which would end terrorism and usher an era of peace with the political package coming into force.

He asserted that they were fully behind Government moves to restore peace in the country in the form of defeating terrorism and introducing a political solution to the ethnic conflict through the APRC proposals.

Minister Rajitha Senaratne told the media that it was imperative for the Government to come up with a political package in the backdrop of the CFA abrogation. He said UNP(D) leader Karu Jayasuriya had taken steps to apprise the party's position both in Parliament and Cabinet.

Commenting on the now defunct CFA, the Minister said it failed miserably to achieve its intended purpose and had become just a paper in the face of repeated LTTE violations.

The LTTE used the CFA to strengthen its military capability when the pact was in force, Senaratne noted while pointing out to a confession made by a Black Tiger cadre recently, saying that the LTTE had brought in unprecedented shiploads of weapons during the period.

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