“Prime Minister told the Ambassador January 10 that it was up to the President to make a new offer on how to deal with the Defense portfolio. In the meantime, he is offering power-sharing at the Provincial level. It appears both sides are waiting to gauge their strength in the April 10 Provincial Elections.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.
The US Embassy wrote; “The Ambassador was called in to see Prime Minister Wickremesinghe on the afternoon of Saturday, January 10. Milinda Moragoda was also present. The meeting began with the participants exchanging thoughts on the books they had read over the Christmas/New Year’s lull, with the PM noting in particular a biography of Franklin Roosevelt. The PM then turned to the purpose of the meeting, saying that he was at an impasse with the President. He had decided, therefore, to try to deal with the broader issue of cooperation, and leave Defense and the Peace Process for later. He would make a proposal to her that for the upcoming Provincial Elections (now proposed to be held simultaneously in all provinces on April 10), the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) agree that the losing party would be offered two provincial ministries, perhaps even including the Chief Ministership. Of course, the PM said, this meant that the SLFP would have to give up its plans for an electoral alliance with the Sinhalese-radical Janantha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP). If the two sides could work together like this in the Provinces, then they could do so in the Center also. Some SLFP politicians could become Central Ministers, but with at least 40 SLFP’ers remaining as the official Opposition, so that the JVP could not claim that role. If all of this worked, then they could find a way to handle Defense.”
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