Prime Minister says Ranil Wickremesinghe a good friend, but no national government

Mahinda Rajapaksa - Prime Minister of Sri Lanka

Amidst rising reports that a national government was being discussed between the Rajapaksa brothers and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe which would see President Gotabaya Rajapaksa as head of state and Wickremesinghe as the new Prime Minister, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday firmly denied these reports saying such a matter was not discussed with the UNP.

In a meeting with some senior journalists at Temple Trees, Prime Minister Rajapaksa said that while Wickremesinghe and he were very good friends, their policies and political ideologies were different hence they could not work together in a joint government. Rajapaksa however, praised Wickremesinghe and also said that a national government, amidst the present crisis, was not being discussed with any political parties and the government would resolve all the issues soon.

The Daily Mirror learns that proposals and recommendations by all political parties to address the present issues, will be discussed at an All Party Conference chaired by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Mahinda Rajapaksa, when they meet on March 23 at 10 pm.

All political party members have been told to attend the conference, where several issues will be discussed. Meanwhile, when questioned as to why he made a statement last week stating that the fuel shortage was artificially created, Prime Minister Rajapaksa said that at a time when former minister Udaya Gammanpila had made a public statement saying there was fuel to last only 4 days in the country, the Prime Minister had immediately telephoned the Chairman of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation who informed him that ships with fuel had already docked at the Colombo Port.

The CPC Chairman had also informed the Prime Minister that they had the necessary funds to purchase the fuel and it was surprising that Gammanpila had made such a statement. However Gammanpila’s statement had caused panic among the public and excess buying which led to an immediate shortage at the fuel stations. He said this could have been avoided.

The Prime Minister further at the meeting yesterday said that the forex crisis was being looked into and soon the power and fuel crisis would also be resolved.

(Source: Daily Mirror – By Jamila Husain)