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All of us are patriotic

Confusion has been created in the minds of the people regarding the position of the UNP on the peace process. The UNP

has consistently stood for a negotiated political solution based on Federalism within a united Sri Lanka. The country has only

two options open to it, which is to revert to war or seek a solution through power sharing within a united Sri Lanka

No third option is available and if a military solution is to be rejected then it means working towards a viable solution based on

federalism, which is a sharing of power within one united Sri Lanka.

Federalism is nothing intimidating, it is only a process of sharing power within one united country. It is only a way of

preserving intact one country made up of multi ethnic, multi-religious groups. It is a way of preserving peace and tranquillity.

We want to make it clear that nobody has a monopoly over patriotism. All of us are patriotic, we love our country and we

belong to a party formed by the first Prime Minister of Independent Sri Lanka, the late D. S. Senanayake. It is impossible to

even imagine a situation where our party and its leader will do anything harmful to the interests of Sri Lanka.

I want to make it quite clear that the model of Federalism that we are considering has four basic safeguards. The first is that

there is no compromising on anything that goes against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. All the powers

that are needed to ensure the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the country will be vested in the Central government

and will not be devolved to Provincial Councils. Control of the armed forces, the national budget, and foreign policy will be

exclusively within the domain of the centre, they will not be devolved to the periphery.

The third area will be consulation with he major political party in the South, the SLFP. There is no way of reaching a solution

without a consensus being first reached with the SLFP. The fourth safeguard is that its acceptance will depend on the

peoples approval at a referendum.

Discussion with the LTTE had reached a stage where the partes had agreed to explore federalism as a solution to the

problem. However before detailed negotiations could be commenced into the development, Parliament was dissolved and

the peace process was stranded. What we need to do is to carry forward the process from where it was stalled so that we

could have access to US $ 5 billion to improve infrastructure and also establish more facilities in the country.

The [other] major political party in Sri Lanka, the SLFP, recently publicly stated that the ceasefire agreement had helped the

country develop and also was a factor in attracting foreign direct investment.

It is also refreshing to note that there is an appreciable measure of agreement between the UNP and the SLFP to bring

about a permanent solution to the North East conflict through a negotiated political settlement.

Compiled from comments quoted in The Island on Nov. 14, 2005