S. Lanka govt accuses opposition of sabotaging peace process, XINHUA
Thu June 24, 2004 13:46 EDT .
COLOMBO, June 24 (Xinhua) -- The Sri Lankan government on Thursday accused the main opposition United National Party (UNP) of attempting to sabotage the Norwegian-brokered peace process with the Tamil Tiger rebels by helping renegade rebel leader.
The government spokesman and Minister of Media Mangala Samaraweera told reporters here that the incident had exposed the UNP's duplicity of advocating negotiations with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels whilst helping the renegade rebel eastern commander Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan alias Karuna. Samaraweera's accusations came after a UNP legislator resigned on Wednesday after being accused of ensuring safe passage to Karuna from eastern Batticaloa district to capital Colombo.
Samaraweera said the government would soon begin an investigation into any military support to the former eastern commander of the LTTE. Karuna, once powerful rebel eastern commander who led 6,000 combatants, broke ranks with LTTE in March and his team was crushed by the north-based main group in an attack one month later.
Ali Zaheer Moulana, the UNP MP, has admitted to having escorted Karuna to Colombo on humanitarian grounds. He resigned his parliament seat after the UNP issued a statement saying that they had no hand in Moulana's assistance to the renegade rebel leader. The LTTE has also accused the military of conniving with Karuna and warned it would endanger the Norwegian-brokered peace process.
The government has denied any involvement in the Karuna affair, which they said is the internal matter within the rebel group itself.
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Published: Thu Jun 24 22:45:34 EDT 2004